Atlanta Hawks: Drew says defense has taken a step back

Vivlamore reporting from practice.

After a weekend off, the Hawks were back at practice Monday and the emphasis was solely on defense.

Coach Larry Drew was not happy with the defense in Friday’s 113-111 loss to the Cavaliers that snapped the team’s six-game win streak. Following Monday’s practice, which featured a great deal of running, the team had a film session to go over the breakdowns.

“In watching our last game, we took a step back defensively,” Drew said. “We’ll go watch film … because I want these guys to really see how bad we were defensively.

“From the standpoint of everything that we put in at the very beginning of training camp it just seems like we reverted back to old habits. It was just one game but I want to catch it as early as I can so they can clearly see the positioning, where we were and why we had so many defensive breakdowns our last game. The whole idea is to catch it and try to correct it as quickly as I can.”

In other news:

* Rookies John Jenkins and Mike Scott will make their NBA Development League debuts tonight for the Bakersfield (Calif.) Jam. Both were sent down on Saturday with the Hawks not playing again until Wednesday.

“We had talked about it as an organization,” Drew said. “I was hoping to get both Mike and John into our rotation but we have a log jam. Both guys bring an NBA skill to the table. Instead of just having the practice time and the player development time and coming to the games and working out before and then sitting on the bench the whole game, I thought it would be a good idea to get into the situation where they are playing. Both guys need that.

“We made the decision to send them down. Both guys are going to play a lot while they are down there. I spoke to the coach and he’s excited about having them. I spoke to both John and Mike before they left and they are excited about the fact that they are going to get a chance to play. It’s tough when you are just sitting over on the bench. I think it will be good for both of them. We’ll monitor them while they are down there and keep a close eye on them.”

I asked Drew if that meant the two would have an extended D-League stay.

“Don’t know yet,” he said. “Right now, it makes sense in our schedule. … We’ll make a decision whether to bring them back for our game on Wednesday or make this a little longer.”

* Kyle Korver (back spasms) did not practice Monday. He instead worked on the side with the training staff. Korver missed Friday’s loss to the Cavs with the ailing back, which had been bothering him much of last week.

Drew said Korver was still day-to-day.

“I spoke to Kyle before we got started. He said it was feeling much, much better. We didn’t want to chance it today. He was up moving around and actually got a little jog in. We’ll keep a close eye on him.”

* Finally, look for a behind-the-scenes photo-blog soon. Over the next few days, I will be taking photos of the areas of Philips Arena that fans never get to see – the locker room, players lounge, training room, etc. I hope to have it posted later this week. Stay tuned.

Also, later today I will post the feature story on Jeff Teague that will appear in the Tuesday print edition of the AJC.

- Chris Vivlamore

11 comments Add your comment


December 3rd, 2012
2:01 pm

FIRST!!!! get well Kyle Korver, we’ll need you wednesday


December 3rd, 2012
2:15 pm

Coach Drew please play Ivan more. He is one of the best rebounding players on the team. Practice should focus on rebounding and free throw shooting! Defense could be great but if you can’t clear the defensive glass you’re giving the opponent too many opportunities. That is the main reason the team lost to the Cavs.

Astro Joe

December 3rd, 2012
2:18 pm

Chris, great idea to give fans a glimpse of “what is behind the curtain”. I truly appreciate your efforts to give us more than a standard level of beat reporting. Keep it up and they will retire your number, right next to Lou Hudson.

Astro Joe

December 3rd, 2012
2:26 pm

I’d like to see LD take the approach that the Braves often have employed… when a player says that he is ready to return from an injury, wait until the next game. If he says he’s able to return for a Wednesday game (as an example), hold him out until the game AFTER Wednesday.

If Scott and/or Jenkins return in the next 7-10 days only to continue to get token minutes with the Hawks, then it would be a waste of the cross-country plane ticket. I hope they stay in the D-League until there is a need for them to play at least 10 minutes/game for the Hawks.

Section 303

December 3rd, 2012
2:49 pm

The defense was awful on Friday. It is nice that Larry Drew has a couple days to address the problem before Wednesday’s game. But, overall, the D has been decent this year.

I do, however, do not think the Hawks are worthy of having the #1 PER that they had going into Friday’s game with Cleveland. The D has been good, but #1 PER….that’s getting carried away.

The game Wednesday should be fun. Hawks/Dever = two teams that get up-and-down. Looking forward to that one.

Section 303

December 3rd, 2012
2:50 pm

Chris, how can D-League games be watched on line? I’m a b-ball nerd. Actually would kind of like to watch Jenkins and Scott’s D-League games.

Section 303

December 3rd, 2012
2:51 pm

Astro, as a season ticket holder for all these years, I’ve been able to see the “behind the scenes” stuff a few times. All of it is cool. The photos Chris is planning to share will be worth the look.

Samurai Squirrel

December 3rd, 2012
3:33 pm

Don’t need to know exactly, but how much do season tickets generally run Section 303?


December 3rd, 2012
3:45 pm


December 3rd, 2012
4:26 pm

Great job C. Viv, as AJ stated, retire your number in front of Lou, but behind Dominique. Only question for LD is why he does not play Ivan at SF.

Duluth Joe

December 3rd, 2012
4:58 pm

LD is not looking at right places.

He can improve defensive capabilities of this team, if he gives Ivan Johnson consistent minutes. LD continues to play a three guard offense for large minutes. It is no secret that Josh and Al can’t substitute for another big for 48 minutes. Josh and Al get tired.

Add to that lack of rebounding by our guards, and clearly we got a problem that only gets better but not completely solved, by giving Ivan consistent minutes.

Unless LD makes a commitment to playing Ivan this year on a consistent basis, defense doesn’t get better with mere words.