Vivlamore reporting from Los Angeles.
The Hawks will go with their big lineup at the Clippers today, starting Jeff Teague and Kyle Kover at guard, Josh Smith and Al Horford at forward and Zaza Pachulia at center. According to coach Larry Drew he was concerned with the early matchup with Clippers center Deandre Jordan.
“Matchup wise it will do us much better to go bigger on Jordan at the start,” Drew said. “I don’t want to put ourselves at a disadvantage.”
Jordan, the 6-foot-11 center, has 41 points and 19 rebounds in the past two games. He also is fifth in the NBA in blocks.
The Hawks will still have to run. The Clippers have tied a franchise record by starting the season with six straight 100-plus point games.
“They are a team that can really get up and down the floor,” Drew said. “Our whole mindset on going on the road is that we have to play our style but we may have to make some adjustments as far as being able to control the tempo. We want to run, get out in the open court and get easy baskets but at the same time we have to be a little more selective with our shots. To not allow them to get out and run, we have to do a good job of getting back and getting matched. Their bigs really run the floor so it will be a challenge for our bigs to really get back and get matched.”
On the issue of shot selection I asked Drew about Smith, who was very candid following Friday’s loss to the Heat about being more efficient offensively, and whether he has spoken to the forward.
Smith is 20 of 52 ( .385) from the field and 2 of 10 (.200) from the free-throw line in his three games this season.
“We had a brief talk,” Drew said. “We got on the plane yesterday and we had a brief talk. We had another just before this game. Yeah, we have to be more efficient offensively. I thought going back and watching the Miami game we certainly had our opportunities. We had some breakdowns defensively but more importantly when you play a team like Miami you have to be efficient offensively going down the stretch.”
- Chris Vivlamore