Archive for November, 2012

C-Viv on hiatus

Vivlamore reporting.

Sorry folks, but I will be off for another week as part of a vacation planned before I took the Hawks beat. This time, I won’t be able to check in during my break.

I will be celebrating the 50th wedding anniversary of my wonderful parents Clarence and Dianne, enjoying Thanksgiving and taking my daughter on her first college visit. I appreciate your understanding. I assure you this will be it for the season – time off at Christmas has been postponed until after the basketball season.

I’ll leave you in good hands. MC Cunningham will return to help as will Doug Roberson and the great Carroll Rogers.

I will post a feature story I have written on DeShawn Stevenson (teaser: he wears SpongeBob socks) that will appear in the Thanksgiving Day edition of the AJC.

Thanks again!

- Chris Vivlamore

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Atlanta Hawks: Warriors 92, Hawks 88

Vivlamore reporting from Oakland.

The Hawks, minus Al Horford, had little inside presence against the Warriors. It showed – on the scoreboard and in the stat sheet.

The Warriors handed the Hawks a 92-88 defeat Wednesday night at the Oracle Arena. Horford, the Hawks starting center, leading scorer and rebounder, was unable to play due to a stomach illness that has swept through the team on their West coast trip. Also unable to play was guard Devin Harris. Two days earlier, against the Trail Blazers, Josh Smith and Lou Williams played despite suffering from the ailment.

A look inside the numbers showed where Wednesday’s game went wrong for the Hawks. They were bettered in these key areas thanks, in large part, to the Warriors’ dribble penetration:

* Total rebounds: 44-29

* Defensive rebounds: 34-24

* Points in the paint: 46-20

* Second-chance points: 14-4

“We definitely could have used Al, without a doubt,” Hawks coach Larry Drew said. “He’s a big piece to what we do. We …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks: Warriors 92, Hawks 88 »

Atlanta Hawks game thread: Horford, Harris out against Warriors (updated)

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 …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks game thread: Horford, Harris out against Warriors (updated) »

Three Hawks on All-Star ballot

Vivlamore reporting from Oakland.

Al Horford, Josh Smith and Jeff Teague are the Hawks representatives on the NBA All-Star ballot the league released Tuesday.

Horford and Smith are  36 front-court nominees in the Eastern Conference. Horford is a two-time All-Star as a center but the league changed the process this year to group all centers and forwards together. Teague is one of 24 nominees at guard in the East. In all, 120 players both both conferences are represented on the ballot.

Balloting will be held until Jan. 14. Fans can vote in a variety of ways on a daily basis, including social media sites. This year’s All-Star game will be held in Houston on Feb. 17.

- Chris  Vivlamore

LATEST NEWS

* Hawks 95, Trail Blazers 87

* Clippers 89, Hawks 76

* Hawks start four-game road trip against Clippers

* Ferry ‘fully engaged’ with Drew

* Heat 95, Hawks 89

*Drew declines comment on Brown firing

* Lessons to be learned in technical fouls

* Hawks89, Pacers 86

* Smith to play …

Continue reading Three Hawks on All-Star ballot »

Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 95, Trail Blazers 87

Vivlamore reporting from Portland.

The Hawks stole a victory – literally – from the Trail Blazers.

The Hawks jumped to an early double-digit lead thanks to seven first-quarter steals. However, they lost a 15-point lead and had to come from behind for a 95-87 victory Monday night at the Rose Garden.

Al Horford scored six straight points, all assisted by Josh Smith, in the final four minutes after the big lead had turned into a two-point deficit. The Trail Blazers used a 15-2 run in the fourth quarter to take an 82-80 lead with 5:40 remaining, their first advantage of the night.

Horford hit a 19-foot jumper, a dunk and a post-up move with the Blazers’ only answer a three-point play from LaMarcus Aldridge. Horford’s last basket broke an 87-87 tie with 2:08 remaining.

After a Jeff Teague layup, Smith drew an offensive foul on Aldridge and Kyle Korver and Teague each sunk a pair of free throws to seal in the victory.

“It was a matter of the fourth quarter and it was time for us to …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 95, Trail Blazers 87 »

Atlanta Hawks game thread: Smith, Williams ill and may not play vs. Blazers (updated)

UPDATE: I’m told that Josh Smith and Lou Williams will play tonight vs. Blazers.

Vivlamore reporting from Portland.

Josh Smith and Lou Williams are questionable for tonight’s game against the Trail Blazers. Each was sick Monday. While they participated in the team’s walk-through practice at the Rose Garden they were sent home early.

Coach Larry Drew said he will wait to see how each was doing later in the day before making a decision on their playing status. I will update you on their conditions prior to game time.

In other items:

* DeShawn Stevenson will play, and likely start, against the Blazers at small forward. Stevenson sat out Sunday’s game at the Clippers. Stevenson, a 13-year veteran, told me he did not play because of the back-to-back games situation.

Drew confirmed Monday that he does not want to overwork Stevenson and his aging knees.

“We are going to play it by ear but for the most part he won’t be playing back-to-backs,” Drew said. “One thing we really want to …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks game thread: Smith, Williams ill and may not play vs. Blazers (updated) »

Atlanta Hawks: Clippers 89, Hawks 76

Vivlamore reporting from Los Angeles.

Lob City turned into Turnover City for the Hawks.

Atlanta committed a season-high 22 turnovers, 10 in the fourth quarter, en route to an 89-76 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers Sunday at a sold old Staples Center. Many of those turnovers led to uncontested layups as the Clippers went on a 26-5 run between the third and fourth quarters. Devin Harris hit a 3-pointer late in the third to put the Hawks up by one point, 60-59. Then 10:24 later, the Hawks trailed by 20 points, 85-65.

Hawks coach Larry Drew said his team lost its composure.

“I thought our guys followed our game plan for two and a half quarters,” Drew said. “Midway into that third quarter, it’s like we totally forgot what had put us in the position we were in. As I told them, on the road we have to be consistent, we have to be on the mark with all of our coverages.

“We knew coming into this building we knew one of the things we needed to do was take away momentum plays. We did that …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks: Clippers 89, Hawks 76 »

Atlanta Hawks game thread: Big lineup vs. Clippers

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 …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks game thread: Big lineup vs. Clippers »

Atlanta Hawks: Four game road trip starts against Clippers

Vivlamore reporting from Los Angeles.

Los Angeles – Josh Smith is ready to put a tough loss – and a tough offensive game – behind him as the Hawks start a four-game West coast trip against the Clippers Sunday.

There were positives in the Hawks’ 95-89 home loss to the Heat Friday. They played right with the defending champions for 47 minutes. It’s just that an NBA game lasts 48 minutes. A couple of missed scoring chances in the final seconds cost the Hawks what would have been another signature win early in the season.

The team flew to California Saturday with film to study in preparation for a game against another tough Western Conference opponent in the Clippers (4-2), the first of four games in six days. Games at the Trail Blazers (2-3), Warriors (3-3) and Kings (2-4) follow on the team’s first extended trip.

“We had some plays that we could have made that weren’t made,” center Al Horford said after the loss to the Heat. “It’s tough. We have to learn from this. … I think we …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks: Four game road trip starts against Clippers »

Atlanta Hawks: Ferry a friend of Brown but ‘fully engaged’ with Drew

Vivlamore reporting from Los Angeles.

Hawks general manager Danny Ferry told the AJC Saturday that while he considers fired Lakers’ coach Mike Brown a friend he is ‘fully engaged’ working with Larry Drew.

“Mike is a good friend and I have great respect for him as a coach but I am fully engaged with Larry and our partnership,” Ferry said. “I have enjoyed our process together so far and think we are building a positive foundation.”

Brown, who coached the Cavaliers when Ferry was GM, was fired by the Lakers Friday after a 1-4 start to the season. Ferry resigned his position with the Cavaliers two weeks after owner Dan Gilbert fired Brown in 2010. At the time, both Ferry and Gilbert called it a “mutual” parting. The main issue was reportedly Ferry’s disagreement with the release of Brown.

Drew, who is in the final year of his contract with the Hawks, declined comment when asked about the firing of Brown prior to Friday’s game against the Heat.

- Chris …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks: Ferry a friend of Brown but ‘fully engaged’ with Drew »