Archive for November, 2012

Atlanta Hawks: Heat 95, Hawks 89 (updated)

Vivlamore reporting.

How do the Hawks measure up against the Heat?

Very well it turns out.

The Hawks went toe-to-toe with the defending NBA champions in a back-and-forth, thoroughly entertaining contest Friday night at Philips Arena. In the end, LeBron James hit a jumper with 13.7 seconds remaining as the Heat won 95-89 over the Hawks.

Al Horford missed a contested shot alley-oop dunk attempt, after a timeout, and a jumper down the stretch for the Hawks. Ray Allen hit a pair of free throws to seal the win.

The Heat played without a key piece of their Big Three as Dywane Wade missed the game due to a cold.

“We don’t want any moral victories,” said Anthony Morrow, who came off the bench with 17 points. “We know what we need to get better at. We know the things we did well tonight. We will continue to work on the things we need to work on and execute down the stretch.”

The Heat opened the fourth quarter on a 10-2 run to take a nine-point lead, 82-73. The Hawks staged another …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks: Heat 95, Hawks 89 (updated) »

Atlanta Hawks: Drew declines comment on Brown firing

Vivlamore reporting.

Hawks coach Larry Drew would not comment on the Lakers’ firing of Mike Brown just five games into the season.

“If you wouldn’t mind, I would rather not comment on that,” Drew said before the game.

Drew is in the final year of his contract. Hawks general manager Danny Ferry’s tenure with the Cavaliers ended when he resigned a month before his contract was to expire and two weeks after owner Dan Gilbert fired Brown at the end of the 2010 season. 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.

On the status of Drew, Ferry told the AJC last month: “We have had a productive and positive relationship so far and I respect his preparation and approach to camp and this season.”

- Chris Vivlamore

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks: Drew declines comment on Brown firing »

Atlanta Hawks game thread: Hawks start defensive minded against Heat; T.I. in the building (updated)

Vivlamore reporting.

Updates: Dywane Wade will not play for the Heat. The guard missed the team’s morning shoot-around with a cold. He stayed at the team hotel for the game to be rested, according to Heat coach Eric Spoelstra. Hawks coach Larry Drew said he briefly considered changing his starting lineup but decided to stay with the same five as originally planned. Drew declined to comment before the game when asked his reaction to the Lakers firing of coach Mike Brown. “If you wouldn’t mind, I would rather not comment on that,” Drew said.

The Hawks will go with a smaller, defensive-minded lineup tonight against the Heat. The will start Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver at guard, DeShawn Stevenson and Josh Smith at forward and Al Horford at center (as I first tweeted this morning).

“I like the matchups,” Hawks coach Larry Drew said. “I like the speed that it does give us. With DeShawn in the lineup it gives us a defensive presence. I think that is really important particularly at …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks game thread: Hawks start defensive minded against Heat; T.I. in the building (updated) »

Atlanta Hawks: Here come the Heat

Vivlamore reporting. Here is my story advancing the Heat game that will appear in the Friday edition of the AJC.

The Hawks are about to get fire tested.

For here come the Heat.

The defending NBA champions will give these new-look Hawks an indication of just where they stand early this season. With back-to-back dramatic victories, a short-handed road win over the Thunder and a comeback home victory over the Pacers, the Hawks have shown some resiliency. That resolve will be challenged against the Heat and their Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and a strong supporting cast.

“Certainly, Miami is as good as it gets,” Hawks coach Larry Drew said. “We’ll have to play a really solid game on both ends of the floor. I’m excited and anxious to see how our guys respond to the challenge.”

The Hawks (2-1) want to use the lessons learned from their first three games, including the season-opening loss to the Rockets where despite being outrebounded by a large margin they …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks: Here come the Heat »

Atlanta Hawks: Lesson to be learned in technical fouls

Vivlamore reporting before Hawks practice.

There was so much to write (and completely rewrite!)  about after last night’s dramatic win over the Pacers. I couldn’t get to the two technical fouls called against the Hawks. In speaking to coach Larry Drew and players after the game, those calls played a role in the outcome. Maybe, if a lesson is learned, they will have a part in other outcomes this season.

Here is what happened.

With 4:02 left in the third quarter, and the Hawks trailing by three points, Josh Smith was called for a technical for arguing with the referee. The call was made as Smith was leaving the court and being replaced by ZaZa Pachulia.

Exactly one minute later, Pachulia was called for technical foul while running up the court after he was stripped of a rebound.

The calls came in the middle of a Pacers’ run that increased their lead to 12 points heading into the final quarter.

I asked Drew what he told his players during a timeout with 5:45 remaining in the game …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks: Lesson to be learned in technical fouls »

Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 89, Pacers 86 (updated)

Vivlamore reporting from Philips Arena.

The Hawks didn’t just go cold in the third quarter. They went ice cold.

It didn’t matter.

The Hawks shot a meager 27 percent from the floor following halftime but erased a 14-point deficit for a dramatic 89-86 victory over the Pacers Wednesday night at Philips Arena. It was the second straight impressive win for the Hawks, who won at the defending Western Conference champion Thunder Sunday.

The Hawks made just 6 of 22 shots and the Pacers went on an 18-0 run in the third quarter. At a timeout with 5:45 left in the fourth quarter, the Hawks’ shooting percentage following intermission remained at 27 percent (9 of 33). By that point, the Pacers led 83-69, and appeared to have full control of the game.

Not so fast.

The Hawks (2-1) came storming back with an 18-0 run of their own, including eight straight points from Kyle Korver, to completely erase the big deficit.

“For a while tonight it looked like we were dead in the water,” coach Larry …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 89, Pacers 86 (updated) »

Atlanta Hawks game thread: Rebounds matter vs. Pacers

Vivlamore reporting from Philips Arena.

Watch the Hawks’ rebounding totals tonight against the Pacers. It might well be a good indicator of which Hawks team we will see.

As we have documented, the Hawks were killed on the boards in the season-opening loss to the Rockets. They bounced back (pun intended) to out-rebound the Thunder in a win Sunday.

Now, here come the Pacers. Even without All-Star Danny Granger, who may miss three months with knee problems, the Pacers lead the NBA in average rebounds (53.3) and defensive rebounds (38.0) per game. The Hawks, by stark contrast, are 27th in rebounds (37.3) and 26th in defensive rebounds (27.5). The Pacers will be playing their fifth game while the Hawks will be playing only their third.

Rebounding will be a point of emphasis for the Hawks, according to coach Larry Drew.

“Their size has always been a problem for us,” Drew said. “(Roy) Hibbert is a big body in the middle, does a great job posting up, does a great job sealing in the …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks game thread: Rebounds matter vs. Pacers »

Atlanta Hawks: Smith will play vs. Pacers (updated)

Vivlamore (updated) reporting from morning shoot-around.

As we told you first, Josh Smith will start tonight against the Pacers. The star forward missed Sunday’s win in Oklahoma City with a sprained right ankle.

Smith was a limited practice participant Tuesday and took part in today’s shoot-around with the projected starters.

Coach Larry Drew said Smith “moved around very well.”

Smith said he’s not 100 percent but is well enough to play.

“You know me, I can’t stay out for too long,” Smith said following shoot-around. “I’m going to see how it goes. It feels good right now. I want to be out there helping my teammates out.

“There is no concern. Obviously, it’s not 100 percent but you have to understand going through a month of training camp and the games, your body is not 100 percent at all. You just have to see how it feels. Right now I feel good and I’m ready to go.”

The rest of the lineup is not set, according to Drew, but it looks like the Hawks will go big with Jeff Teague …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks: Smith will play vs. Pacers (updated) »

Atlanta Hawks: Smith still questionable against Pacers (updated)

Vivlamore reporting from Hawks practice.

The big question is the condition of Josh Smith and his sprained right ankle. Smith was a “limited” participant in practice Tuesday. Coach Larry Drew said the forward is still listed as day-to-day and a decision on his status for Wednesday’s game against the Pacers has not been determined.

I can tell you that following practice, Smith and Mike Scott spent between 10 and 15 minutes working together on their post-up and outside moves. They appeared to be going close to, if not at, full speed. I’m sure a lot will depend on how Smith’s ankle responds to Tuesday’s workout.

I will let you hear it from Smith himself. Here is a portion of the post-practice interview I did with him:

Q. How is the ankle?

A. “It feels good. We are still taking it day by day. We are not announcing anything right now but it feels good.

Q. When did you do it because you played the whole fourth quarter (against the Rockets)?

A. I did it early in the fourth when I …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks: Smith still questionable against Pacers (updated) »

Atlanta Hawks: Williams the go-to guy down the stretch

Vivlamore back from Oklahoma and reporting from Hawks practice.

Right now, the fourth quarter belongs to Lou Williams.

That could change. Hawks coach Larry Drew insists playing time down the stretch of games, particularly among the depth of guards, will be determined by who has the hot hand that night.

Guard Lou Williams signed with the Hawks as a free agent in July after seven seasons with the 76ers. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Guard Lou Williams signed with the Hawks as a free agent in July after seven seasons with the 76ers. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Williams has been the team’s go-to guy late in the first two games for the Hawks (1-1). He has played every fourth-quarter minute and scored 27 of his 41 points (66 percent) in the final stanzas. In those two periods he is a combined 7-for-17 from the field and 11-for-11 from the free-throw line.

“I just want to be in the rotation,” Williams said. “That’s my main thing. As long as I’m on the court, I just try to maximize the minutes I get and make everything happen that I can.”

He may not start, but Williams has certainly been on the court when …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks: Williams the go-to guy down the stretch »