Vivlamore reporting from Oakland.
A stomach illness is still wreaking havoc on the Hawks’ roster during their West Coast road trip. Al Horford and Devin Harris missed Wednesday’s game against the Warriors. Both were unable to take part in the team’s morning shootaround and were declared out well before game time.
“Hopefully, both guys will be ready by Friday,” Hawks coach Larry Drew said of the final game of the trip against the Kings. “We are taking all precautions (to ensure no one else gets ill).”
Josh Smith and Lou Williams were questionable right up until game time of Monday’s victory over the Trail Blazers. Both played and scored in double figures.
There was plenty of hand sanitizer making its way around the team workout at a San Francisco health club, as the illness also hit security and media-relations personnel.
Zaza Pachulia started at center for Horford. The Hawks activated backup center Johan Petro. He has been inactive all six games this season due to a sore back. Drew said there was a possibility Petro could play behind Pachulia and Ivan Johnson.
” I think he’s had enough (practice time),” Drew said of Petro. “We wanted him to spend more time out on the court and getting up and down. He’s been with us on the trip and prior to us leaving Atlanta he got quite a bit of court time in trying to gather some conditioning.
“I’m hoping to get him some time but I’ll take a very close look at our matchups and see if it makes sense.”
Horford leads the Hawks in points scored (89) and rebounds (52) and is tied for the team lead, with Smith, in points per game average (14.8).
The other starters will be Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, DeShawn Stevenson and Smith.
Smith said he was feeling much better after a day of rest.
Teague joined Smith and Horford as the Hawks representatives on the All-Star ballot released by the league Tuesday. While both said they are honored by the nomination, their main concern remained the season at hand.
“I’m just worried about the season right now and finding the cohesiveness to this team,” said Smith, who has never made the All-Star team despite approaching career numbers of 10,000 points, 5,000 rebounds, 2,000 assists and more than 1,000 blocks. “I’m a firm believer that as the team succeeds I succeed. So, I’m worried about what we are doing as a team. I not worried about the All-Star team.”
Horford is a two-time All-Star as a center. He now is grouped together with other centers and forwards as the league changed the voting distinction to front-court players.
“I really don’t pay too much attention to it until that time comes around,” Teague said of his nomination. “I’m more happy for Josh and Al. I’m just happy to be part of it. … I just trying to go every game, win every game. If it happens, I’ll be grateful for it but I’m just going game by game.”
Teague entered Wednesday’s game with averages of 14.3 points, 7.2 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.8 steals through six games.
“I think he definitely belongs in the same breath with a lot of the point guards in the league,” Drew said. “Jeff is really is blossoming into a really good point guard. He brings a speed to the game. He can make shots. He has a good in-between game. I think it’s time that he is mentioned with some of these other point guards.”
Playing on the road
Players and coaches often talk about the team-building benefits of playing on the road. However, the Hawks could learn a more valuable lesson with this early season four-game road trip, played in six days.
Drew was concerned prior to the season that his team would learn to win in a hostile environment. They got a lesson on the first game of the trip, losing their composure late in a loss to the Clippers. The next night they were again challenged in the fourth quarter but pulled out a victory over the Blazers.
“I think it’s a good thing to go on the road this early, to experience some of these lessons to be learned early, so that we can understand and grow as a team,” Drew said. “We didn’t feel good about our performance particularly late in the third quarter and into the fourth quarter against (the Clippers). … Against Portland, the difference was we did not lose our composure. We maintained our composure.”
The Hawks have forced 17.8 turnovers per game, fourth best in the NBA. Former Warriors coach Don Nelson, elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame, was honored in a pre-game ceremony. … The Hawks end their road trip Friday at the Kings and return home where they will play seven of their next eight games. … Several Hawks players visited the island of Alcatraz during an off day Tuesday.