Archive for November, 2012

Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 104, Thunder 95

Vivlamore reporting from Oklahoma City.

The Lou Williams signing looks pretty darn good right about now.

The Hawks did what few thought was possible on Sunday. They entered one hostile environment and stared down the defending Western Conference champion Thunder. Oh, and did we mention they did so without star Josh Smith.

Williams had a run of 10 straight points late in the fourth quarter as the Hawks defeated the Thunder 104-95 silencing a once raucous sellout crowd of 18,203 at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Williams scored 14 of the Hawks’ final 23 points. DeShawn Stevenson hit a 3-pointer with 1:28 remaining that put the Hawks up 100-91. Williams then hit four free throws in the final seconds to ice the victory and end a Thunder mini-run.

“Over the past four or five years of my career, the fourth quarter has probably been my best,” said Williams, who finished with 19 points. “I’ve always gotten off to slow starts for whatever reason. I just pick it up in the fourth quarter. It’s …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 104, Thunder 95 »

Atlanta Hawks game thread: Tolliver will start for Smith vs. OKC

Vivlamore reporting from Oklahoma City following the Hawks’ shoot-around prior to tonight’s game against the Thunder.

* As we reported yesterday, Josh Smith is not on the trip with a sprained right ankle. Coach Larry Drew said he noticed Smith limping during Friday’s season-opener against the Rockets. The forward did play all 12 minutes of the fourth quarter.

“It was a little sore (Saturday),” Drew said. “I know he got it treated. We made the decision to leave him back and get it treated. Our focus was to get him ready for Wednesday’s game.”

Drew said he is “hoping” Smith will be ready for the game against the Pacers but his status will depend on how he feels and the doctor’s report.

* Anthony Tolliver will start in Smith’s place. The rest of the starting lineup will be Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, DeShawn Stevenson and Al Horford. Stevenson will draw the early assignment of Thunder star Kevin Durant, although Tolliver will match up against him as well.

“Like we’ve always done …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks game thread: Tolliver will start for Smith vs. OKC »

Atlanta Hawks: Smith out vs. OKC with sprained ankle

Vivlamore reporting from Oklahoma City. Sorry for the latest of the blog but news broke about Josh Smith as I was literally boarding my (delayed) flight.

Oklahoma City — An already tough task just got tougher.

The Hawks play their first road game of the season, against defending Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Sunday, without star Josh Smith. The forward sprained his right ankle in the Hawks’ season-opening loss to Houston Friday and did not travel with the team Saturday. According to a team statement, Smith’s status will be updated as appropriate.

Smith was the Hawks leading scorer last season, appearing in all 66 games. In the loss to the Rockets, Smith had 18 points and 10 rebounds. The Hawks were outrebounded 58-36 against the Rockets with Smith accounting for nearly a third of their boards.

Johan Petro, the 7-foot backup center also did not travel with the team due to a sore back. Petro was inactive against the Rockets.

Already at a size disadvantage, the …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks: Smith out vs. OKC with sprained ankle »

Atlanta Hawks: Rockets 109, Hawks 102 (updated)

Vivlamore reporting from Philips Arena.

Welcome to the Hawks’ new style of basketball.

Oh yes, this is going to be interesting.

The Hawks couldn’t contain James Harden. They were killed on the boards. They trailed by as many as 16 points.

Yet, they barely lost.

Harden finished with a game-high 45 points, including seven straight when the Rockets erased a two-point Hawks’ fourth-quarter lead, en route to a 109-102 victory Friday night at Philips Arena. There is still much work to do for the Hawks and a revamped roster.

“We have some things that we really have to focus in and work on,” coach Larry Drew said. “There were area in this game where we weren’t very good, very polished, particularly on the boards. We didn’t do a good job on the boards.” And it wasn’t just our big guys. It was our perimeters not being in position to chase down long rebounds.”

After losing the late lead thanks to Harden, who finished with 18 fourth-quarter points, the Hawks had a chance to tie the …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks: Rockets 109, Hawks 102 (updated) »

Atlanta Hawks Game Thread: Rockets vs. Hawks

Vivlamore reporting following the Hawks’ morning shootaround. Here is an early start on your game thread.

The Hawks will be challenged defensively on the perimeter right off the bat. For here comes the Rockets and newly acquired guard James Harden for tonight’s season opener.

Harden lit up the Pistons for a game-high 37 points, on 14 of 25 shooting, in the Rockets’ 105-96 season-opening victory Wednesday at Detroit. He also had 12 assists making him the first-ever NBA player to score 37 or more points and have double-digit assists in his team debut. The 6-foot-5 Harden could present problems for 6-3 Devin Harris and 6-5 DeShawn Stevenson, two who figure to draw much of the defensive assignment.

“I did,” Harris said with a slight smile when asked if he watched the Rockets-Pistons game. “He’s a good player. He’s a max (contract) player for a reason. He’s tough. We’ll throw a lot of different guys at him. The main thing is to try to keep him off the free-throw line and keep him …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks Game Thread: Rockets vs. Hawks »

Atlanta Hawks: Five questions with Al Horford as regular season begins

Vivlamore reporting prior to this morning’s shoot-around as the regular season opens against the Rockets.

Here is a Q and A I did with center Al Horford.

Q. How are you health-wise? Do you have any trepidation going into the season (coming off torn pectoral muscle)?

A. I feel good. One of the things I tried to do this summer was get my strength back to help the team. Physically, I feel good. I’m excited about the year.

Q. I know each player met with coach Drew to discuss their role on the team. What did he say would be your role this year?

A. With me, it’s very basic. I feel like I know my role here and it’s to come out and be a presence inside on defense, and on offense as well. Being able to rebound, set screens, know when to pass the ball, know when to shoot the ball. I’m just trying to win. That’s the way I play. Our discussion was about that. Just making sure that we know what he expects from us.

Q. This is a different team this year in that you are smaller at the 2 and 3 …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks: Five questions with Al Horford as regular season begins »

Atlanta Hawks: Smith on verge of statitistical milestone

Vivlamore reporting.

* The Hawks are off today prior to opening the regular season Friday against the Rockets. Here is my story on Josh Smith that will appear in Friday’s print edition of the AJC. A special note of thanks to the Hawks’ crack PR staff for providing the names below of all 23 players in NBA history to have amassed 10,000 points, 5,000 rebounds, 2,000 assists and 1,000 blocks. The check is in the mail.

Josh Smith admits the chip is still squarely on his shoulder – even as he piles up statistics few in NBA history have amassed.

If he remains healthy for his ninth season Smith will become the 24th player in league history to reach 10,000 points, 5,000 rebounds, 2,000 assists and 1,000 blocks. There are only eight players to do it with one team.

Hawks forward Josh Smith reacts after a Game 1 victory over the Celtics in the playoff last season.

Hawks forward Josh Smith reacts after a Game 1 victory over the Celtics in the playoff last season.

Smith has career totals of 9,044 points (needs 956), 4,768 rebounds (needs 232), 1,849 assists (needs 151) and 1,304 blocks. …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks: Smith on verge of statitistical milestone »