Vivlamore reporting from Hawks practice.
The Hawks are looking to rebound – literally – from their last loss.
The Nuggets, the NBA’s top offensive rebounding team, will be at Philips Arena Wednesday. The Hawks had a six-game win streak snapped by the Cavaliers, featuring the league’s top rebounder Anderson Varejao, Friday.
The Hawks (9-5) have been outrebounded in eight games this season, including by a 49-28 margin against the Cavaliers. They are 28th in the NBA in rebounding average (39.4), with only the Heat and Celtics worse. They are also 29th in rebounding differential (minus 4.1). The Nuggets (9-9) are tops in offensive rebounds per game (15.4) and second overall in total rebounds (46.7).
“They are relentless going to the glass,” Hawks coach Larry Drew said of the Nuggets following Tuesday’s practice. “We are going to have to be good … as far as our ability to keep them off the boards. The perimeters are going to have to do their jobs as well. It’s going to be a game where if we don’t do a good job on the glass then we could be in for a long night.”
Kyle Korver, who has been out with back spasms, did not practice Tuesday. The guard has not been able to practice since leaving in the third quarter against the Bobcats last week. He missed the game against the Cavaliers.
DeShawn Stevenson was forced to leave Tuesday’s practice after taking an elbow to the head. He continued to participate but left after complaining of a headache.
The Hawks were left with 10 players to finish the workout with rookies John Jenkins and Mike Scott sent to the NBA Development League over the weekend.
Back to defensive basics
Drew called the defensive execution against the Cavaliers the team’s worst all season. Following Monday’s practice, the coaching staff held a film session to illustrate the issues.
“In watching the film yesterday, they saw exactly what I was talking about,” Drew said. “It wasn’t a situation where they could dispute anything. It was staring them right in the face. We had some really good dialog about how we played and now we are ready to move on.”
Anthony Morrow has had an up-and-down season when it comes to playing time. The guard has a single-game high of 25 minutes while also not playing at all in two games. Morrow is averaging 5.7 points in 12.4 minutes. He leads the team in 3-point field goal percentage (.533) despite not having plays run for him.
“It’s tough but I’ve been in that situation before,” Morrow said. “It just hasn’t been for a few years. Whatever my role has to be for this team, I want to do it well. If it’s coming off the bench, getting a steal or two, having a big possession offensively, even make free throws at the end of the game. No matter what it is, as long as we win. … I’ll continue to work my butt off and whatever opportunity arises, it arises.”
- Chris Vivlamore