Atlanta Hawks: Defensive switch key to win over Bobcats; Korver likely out

Vivlamore reporting from Hawks practice.

It was time.

With the Hawks’ 11-point fourth-quarter lead against the Bobcats nearly gone Wednesday night, coach Larry Drew made a defensive switch. He put forward Josh Smith on Bobcats guard Ben Gordon in the final two minutes. Gordon was almost single-handedly bringing the Bobcats back with 20 fourth-quarter points.

Enough was enough.

Despite Gordon’s improbable 3-pointer, with Smith one of two defenders, that pulled the Bobcats to within a point with 29 seconds remaining the Hawks held on for a 94-91 victory. It was the Hawks’ sixth straight win, their longest since the start of the 2010-11 season.

“A guy like Josh who has the ability to defend all five positions, I knew that he we would take the challenge.” Drew said. “I knew that he would try to fight through screens. One-on-one with him guarding Gordon, I certainly take my chances with that because Josh has length that could affect a shot. If Gordon tries to drive past him, he’s going to meet him at the rim.

“My whole line of thinking was to put a guy on Gordon who was really going to take the challenge.”

Smith was in the middle of the key moment in the victory when the Bobcats threw an inbound pass away with 5.2 seconds remaining, still down by the one point. Ramon Sessions was trying to get the ball to Gordon which sailed out of bounds in front of Smith’s outstretched arm.

“Your main focus is you have to guard him before he catches the basketball because he can hit any kind of shot, whether it’s a hand in his face or you are jumping at him,” Smith said. “When he’s on you can’t stop him. I wanted to stay glued to him.”

The Hawks forced the Bobcats into two shots by center Bismark Biyombo before Gordon’s final 3-pointer and the final turnover.

Gordon did finish with a game-high 26 points. However, Al Horford, Lou Williams and Smith all finished with 17 points for the Hawks. Smith added 13 rebounds, six assists, five blocks and three steals.

Injury report

The Hawks (9-4) will put their six-game winning streak on the line by hosting the Cavaliers (3-12) Friday. They will most likely be without Kyle Korver. The guard left Wednesday’s game with back spasms. He had missed the previous day’s practice with the injury but started against the Bobcats. However, he was forced to leave the game in the third quarter.

Korver did not practice Thursday. While the team is calling Korver day-to-day, it’s likely they will hold him out because he could be afforded extra rest with their next game Wednesday.

“We’ll use our judgment but it probably wouldn’t make much sense to risk him being back out there with a back that is not 100 percent,” Drew said.

Anthony Morrow left Thursday’s practice with a quad contusion. A decision on his status will be made following Friday’s shootaround.

The Cavaliers are very thin at guard themselves. Kyrie Irving is out with a broken finger and Daniel Gibson is nursing a sore right elbow.

Cavaliers struggling

The Cavaliers have lost four straight games and only the Raptors and Wizards have worse records in the Eastern Conference.

They are led by Anderson Varejao, the NBA’s leading rebounder. He has at least 15 rebounds in 10 of his 14 games this season, including the past six.

In the Cavaliers last game, a 91-78 loss to the Suns Tuesday where Varejao had 20 points and 18 rebounds, coach Byron Scott’s post-game press conference went like this: “Andy Varejao was fantastic. Everybody else sucked tonight. Anything else you need to know?”

Still, Drew is concerned about the Cavaliers, although the Hawks have won the last seven games, including four in a row at Philips Arena.

“I really believe our players remember the games we’ve had with Cleveland in the past and they were all tough games,” Drew said. “… They have always been a tough matchup for us because they have a bunch of blue-collar workers.”

The Hawks have not won seven straight games since November 2009.

- Chris Vivlamore

64 comments Add your comment

Supreme Grand Poobah

November 29th, 2012
3:17 pm

Gray Mule

November 29th, 2012
3:20 pm

Always great to win!
Get well soon to Korver.

The Truth

November 29th, 2012
3:21 pm

jgsbirds

November 29th, 2012
3:28 pm

i know initially korver got a lot of hate on this blog but i knew he would make a difference to this team in a positive way. he has got a great basketball iq and simply is an extra coach on the floor. he sometimes seems to know the opponents plays better than they do. i hope he’s not out too long–to me he’s kind of the glue that holds this team together, well at least to this point of the season.

Astro Joe

November 29th, 2012
3:35 pm

Korver walked off the court last night looking like Fred Sanford. I felt bad for him… as someone who has had back problems before (and likewise walked around like Fred Sanford). Get better soon, dude.

newkid

November 29th, 2012
3:58 pm

Astro, you sure it was the back, rather than knees and bowed legs, with Sanford and Scatman?

Astro Joe

November 29th, 2012
3:59 pm

newkid, probably all of the above, plus the ripple. :lol:

hot.trod.87

November 29th, 2012
4:12 pm

who was guarding Ben Gordon before Josh Smith?

marcus

November 29th, 2012
4:14 pm

This team is quietly going about their business plus keeping the heat close.

Rod from College Park

November 29th, 2012
4:18 pm

“A guy like Josh who has the ability to defend all five positions, I knew that he we would take the challenge.” Drew said. “I knew that he would try to fight through screens. One-on-one with him guarding Gordon, I certainly take my chances with that because Josh has length that could affect a shot. If Gordon tries to drive past him, he’s going to meet him at the rim.

“My whole line of thinking was to put a guy on Gordon who was really going to take the challenge.”

Interesting that the coach feels like a guy who never hustles, and complains all the time and never gets back on defense is his most versatile and best defender. Hmm… He anlong with Mike Woodson must know something that many of the bloggers don’t.

newkid

November 29th, 2012
4:20 pm

Ahhh, the ripple. Brings back memories.

tyger

November 29th, 2012
4:26 pm

The Schedule is kind…

Hawks winning games they should win…
Could be a good sign…notorious slackers…
Have been playing to competition for years…

If they could learn to grind…
It could carryover to the elite teams…

Winning by committee is interesting…

Wink

November 29th, 2012
4:28 pm

With Korver hurting, I would like to see John Jenkins get some minutes. Most of Korver shots are wide open 3’s, I believe Jenkins can also hit open shots as well. Time to try to develop a young player, instead of breaking their spirit; Jenkins led the NCAA in 3 point shooting…this is a transferable skill to the NBA level….cmon Drew!

hot.trod.87

November 29th, 2012
4:34 pm

hot.trod.87

November 29th, 2012
4:34 pm

hot.trod.87

November 29th, 2012
4:36 pm

ROd, Right on.. Offense gets you highlights defense gets you wins

Big Ray

November 29th, 2012
4:54 pm

Rod,

I should hope so. If either guy knew no more than ANY of us bloggers, those teams would be in trouble.

Don’t look now, but your friend Marvin has been back in the starting lineup. I TOLD you things were desperate in Utah….

Big Ray

November 29th, 2012
4:57 pm

Hotrod,

True. But if not for Josh’s offense we might have lost last night. And Ben Gordon tore us a new one with his offense. Good thing LD put Josh on him at the end. It looked for a while there like we had Mike Bibby and Jamal Crawford out there playing defense again…

TD

November 29th, 2012
4:57 pm

Rod from College Park said “Interesting that the coach feels like a guy who never hustles, and complains all the time and never gets back on defense is his most versatile and best defender”

What the heck are you talking about? Josh is outstanding on defense. He has matured over the past 18 months into an excellent player.

Big Ray

November 29th, 2012
5:04 pm

TD,

Some folks say Josh is lazy and a bum on defense. Of course there is no teeth to this. Oh, there was a couple years ago….but as you say, he has matured. That was evident last season.

Sometimes people like to hold onto old arguments.

Big Ray

November 29th, 2012
5:07 pm

I would like to see John Jenkins play too. However, it’s not his ability to hit shots that might hold him back. It’s his defense.

Sameba

November 29th, 2012
5:48 pm

Korver & (posssibly) Morrow out?

Good opportunity to see Jenkins on the floor with starters…

ryan

November 29th, 2012
6:07 pm

I know you guys don’t want to hear about trades but if Amare Stoudamire becomes available should the Hawks take chance we have the cap space if we want to go deep and make a run your thoughts .

vava74

November 29th, 2012
6:09 pm

Najeh quoted an interesting paragraph of Horford’s Q&A with Zachary Lowe in Grantland, but there were other tidbits which had information value.

Al confirmed the notion that Korver is a coach on the floor. He said that Korver is constantly talking to folios where they should be on defence and that due to this they have improved defensely. They communicate a lot more.

vava74

November 29th, 2012
6:11 pm

Talking to guys

Sameba

November 29th, 2012
6:14 pm

Interesting trade rumor that includes also Amare:
——————————————————————————————————————–
LA Lakers forward Pau Gasol has been included in several trade rumors over the last 12 months, but the latest from Scott Burns is a four team blockbuster deal that could help several teams around the league.

This trade has Gasol, Earl Clark, and Jose Calderon of the Toronto Raptors heading for Chicago. The LA Lakers would receive Amar’e Stoudemire from the NY Knicks, Richard Hamilton from the Bulls, and Linus Kleiza from the Raptors. New York would get Luol Den from the Bulls and Metta World Peace from Los Angeles and the Raptors would get Carlos Boozer from the Bulls and Steve Blake from the Lakers.

While this deal has a lot to take in, it makes sense for several reasons, including financially for all teams involved and an increase in talent for all four squads.

There have been a number of big trades like this in the NBA since the arrival of the salary cap and this deal would allow teams like Toronto to continue their rebuilding and give the Bulls some fresh blood, especially with the discontent of the fans towards Boozer.

Najeh Davenpoop

November 29th, 2012
6:18 pm

Wow. That is an interesting trade. If you ask me though the Lakers would be better off just trading Gasol for Deng straight up and playing Deng and MWP at the forward spots. Either one of them could fill the Shawn Marion PF role in D’Antoni’s offense. Anyone who trades for Amare at this point would have to be really desperate.

Rod from College Park

November 29th, 2012
6:24 pm

Rod from College Park said “Interesting that the coach feels like a guy who never hustles, and complains all the time and never gets back on defense is his most versatile and best defender”

What the heck are you talking about? Josh is outstanding on defense. He has matured over the past 18 months into an excellent player.

LOL

Rod from College Park

November 29th, 2012
6:26 pm

“Oh, there was a couple years ago….but as you say, he has matured. That was evident last season.”

Please help me remember what year that was.

vava74

November 29th, 2012
6:34 pm

Rod,

I think you and this guy are in a complete miss understanding… He did not understand your sarcasm so I think you did understand his reaction either.

Or am I seeng this wrong?

Michael

November 29th, 2012
6:54 pm

C-viv,did ivan even play yesterday? if not, then why?

Nate ArchiBALL

November 29th, 2012
6:56 pm

Rod from CP — I think TD misunderstood your sarcasm……..

Melvin

November 29th, 2012
8:05 pm

I wonder if the Spurs will get fined for holding out their players…. Uncle David will not like this…

Blast

November 29th, 2012
8:24 pm

No point in watching the Heats/Spurs game if Spur’s top scorers are not playing. Maybe the Falcons can get a measure of revenge tonite.

Blast

November 29th, 2012
8:35 pm

Touchdown, Turner!

Great drive, Falcons!

Slimjr

November 29th, 2012
8:35 pm

Big fine coming! The godfather expressed his anger towards Greg Popovich and the Spurs for leaving his starting 5 back in San Antonio to rest and be ready for Memphis on Saturday….

The Spurs have been on a long road trip. Pops message was received loud and clear!

Blast

November 29th, 2012
8:38 pm

Spurs playing mind games with the Heat in case they meet in the finals. Coach Greg P. could have rested those guys the game before this one, and have them play this night.

Slimjr

November 29th, 2012
8:39 pm

Its a flawed game with the godfather running things, so Pop is just trying to level the playing field as best he can….lol!

Slimjr

November 29th, 2012
8:43 pm

Drew will have all day in the pocket to eat a Ham sandwich..Yep…

Slimjr

November 29th, 2012
8:47 pm

This is a stimulated playoff game[Saints and Falcons]..Hmmmmmmmmmm.. Oh boy….

PLAYOFFS?????

keith

November 29th, 2012
9:28 pm

We need to put up 17 more points on the Aints tonight…

keith

November 29th, 2012
10:04 pm

Mickael Petrus signs with the Toronto Raptors??? Huge Missed opportunity!

Najeh Davenpoop

November 29th, 2012
10:29 pm

This is too funny.David Stern is p-ssed at the Spurs for resting their starters and vows to fine them… but they’re beating the Heat at full strength. How f-cking stupid would he look if he fined a WINNING TEAM for tanking?

Rev in Tampa

November 30th, 2012
12:03 am

I’m hoping that Aaron Murray has a better game Saturday than Matt Ryan did tonight. But I’ll take a win over Alabama any way I can get it.

Rev in Tampa

November 30th, 2012
12:12 am

Being in Tampa I get to see B.J. Upton quite a bit. He has a sweet looking swing, but I don’t think he is worth the money the Braves are playing him. He had a decent season last year, but the two years before that he was a real liability. He has not shown the consistency to be paid that type of money.

I was an Upton fan while he was playing for a team I cared little about, but, being a Braves fan, I am afraid he will greatly frustrate me. He is not a lead off hitter. He is not disciplined enough at the plate.

Grandad

November 30th, 2012
1:54 am

2 for John Drew

Thanks for the props.

I forgot to mention last eve;
now we [Mrs G-dad & myself] are chasin` after the grandson;
both baseball and basketball … so:
“Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, Life Goes 0n”

vava74

November 30th, 2012
2:24 am

For those who have not noticed, due to injuries to Captain Jack and K. Leonard, SAS pick up again James Anderson, who failed to make any impression with us.

He struggled a bit in his first two games in limited minutes (just under 6 of average) but last night in MIA, with 4 starters sent home to rest, Anderson posted in 19.5 minutes of action:

9 points on (2/2FG – 1/1 3ptFG – 4/5FTs) a ± stat of +9 — 4 rebounds — 3 assists — 1 blk

vava74

November 30th, 2012
2:54 am

Slimjr,

So what kind of sandwiches do think Brees had last night? Do you think it was spoiled mayo on them that did the trick? :-D

ag

November 30th, 2012
6:46 am

I am real sure tonights starters will be the big lineup with Stevenson starting at SG. I think this is really going to hurt the team because we have done very well stretching defenses, but Stevenson is a poor 3 pt shooter. I would like to see Jenkins starting and get those same plays they run for Kyle.

Big Ray

November 30th, 2012
7:36 am

Rod,

They say memory is the SECOND thing to go at your age….