Atlanta Hawks game thread: Harris not settling for jumpers

Vivlamore reporting from Memphis.

Devin Harris is no longer settling for his jump shot. That’s the difference in his play of late, according the Hawks guard.

While Harris has been slowed by knee and toe injuries early this season, he insists that has not been an issue. He just needed a little time to learn his role and get comfortable with his new teammates.

“Now, I’m making a conscious effort of getting into the paint, finishing and doing what I’ve done before to be successful,” Harris said. “I just needed to re-start.”

Harris has started the past four games, including Saturday’s game against the Grizzlies, at shooting guard in place of Kyle Korver.

Larry Drew is seeing the play from Harris that made him an All-Star and had the coach eager to install his up-tempo offense.

“You are starting to see some of the old Devin,” Drew said. “He is getting in the lane. In transition he’s going coast to coast. He is starting to really get in real good basketball shape. With he and Jeff (Teague) both on the floor, or Lou (Williams), it allows us to play totally different because we have two guys who can really break the defense down and that you have to be concerned with going from coast to coast. Yeah, we’ll be smaller but our strength is going to be able to play in the open court. When he’s healthy he makes us much better.”

Harris had season-highs with 15 points and six assists in Friday’s victory over the Wizards. Two of his baskets were driving layups. Harris had 12 points against the Nuggets, including three layups, and 13 points against the Cavaliers, including five layups.

Pushing the tempo is Job No. 1 of Harris – that instruction coming from Drew.

“He tells me when I’m in there my job is to get everybody to run with me,” Harris said. “My job is to push the pace. Obviously, when different guys come in we play different ways but when I’m in there my job is to push the pace.

“I just needed a couple games to focus on how I could be effective with the guys on the court.”

In other news:

* The Hawks started their big lineup against the Grizzlies Saturday, in part because of the matchups and in part because DeShawn Stevenson likely would not play in the second of back-to-back games. Zaza Pachulia, Al Horford, Josh Smith, Teague and Harris started. Stevenson dressed but wasn’t expected to play in the continuing effort to rest the veteran in such situations.

* Korver remained in Atlanta, missing his fourth game, as he continued rehabilitation from back spasms. Drew said Korver would not join the team in time for Monday’s game against the Heat. He said there is a “chance” Korver could join the team in Orlando for a practice Tuesday and game Wednesday.

“The back is feeling better but he has to get in basketball shape,” Drew said.

* Drew said the Grizzlies, the top team in the Western Conference, present a number of issues for the Hawks.

“They are a good basketball team,” Drew said. “They really play well at home. Rudy Gay can really score the basketball. They have a solid inside game with Zach Randolph. Marc Gasol has really come into his own as one of the better big men in the league. Mike Conley is really terrific point guard, really good in the open court, really good off pick and rolls. They are a good team.”

Smith will match up with Gay to start the game.

- Chris Vivlamore

294 comments Add your comment

Slimjr

December 8th, 2012
7:25 pm

1st?????????????????????

Slimjr

December 8th, 2012
7:25 pm

2nd?????????????????????

Slimjr

December 8th, 2012
7:27 pm

Memphis has the best record in Basketball @ 14-3 [.824%]!

Memphis is 9-1 @ Home!

Memphis has won 13 in a row against Eastern Conference Foes!

Can you say:

OH THE HUMANITY?

Najeh Davenpoop

December 8th, 2012
7:30 pm

Getting into the paint is great, but you need a plan once you get there. Too often, Devin flashes his quickness but also looks like he has no idea whether he wants to pass, get to the rim, pull up for a jumper, or none of the above. That’s partly why he has only had a positive plus/minus in 36% of his games, worst among regular rotation players on the team. He has been OK but he either needs to be more consistent shooting 3s (never his strength at any point in his career) or making plays when he gets inside.

Considering this team’s problems getting free throw attempts and Harris’ history of drawing free throws at an elite rate, he’s probably better off just focusing on getting to the line at the expense of trying to set up teammates or shoot jumpers.

Najeh Davenpoop

December 8th, 2012
7:31 pm

Stevenson is not an old man. Why does he need the T-Mac treatment?

Also, will Ivan play tonight?

MattP

December 8th, 2012
7:36 pm

I guess the oldest player on the team will get a DNP-Back to Back with Drew.

soullrenaissance

December 8th, 2012
7:40 pm

This should be a great defensive game. These two teams sport the NBA’s most stifling defenses. Hawks can pull out a victory and put a damper on the Grizlies eastern dominance. I don’t expect an offensive explosion from either team.

Jamaaliver

December 8th, 2012
7:41 pm

Deshawn has chronic knee issues with tend to flareup with few days rest.

Memphis is really looking like a complete team. The kind of team I would like us to create.

I don’t think we’ll be able to keep up with the Joneses…er, um, Grizzles.

Just Joe

December 8th, 2012
7:41 pm

Ivan is going to have to match Speights off the bench. Speights is 14th in the league in rebounds per 48 minutes played.

Sautee

December 8th, 2012
7:42 pm

“Memphis has won 13 in a row against Eastern Conference Foes!”

“Can you say:

OH THE HUMANITY?” – slimjr

Hey slim, didn’t you say the same thing before we played the Thunder in OKC? ;-)

Sameba

December 8th, 2012
7:42 pm

I do not like the way Drew talks about Memphis: blah, blah, blah… The Hawks are not bad team either. I get impression he is looking for excuses in advance. If we fight and play smart we can win!!

Just Joe

December 8th, 2012
7:45 pm

I predict this game will come down to Teague, Harris, Lou vs. Conley, Allen, Bayless.

Lou goes big tonight. 24 pts in a Hawks victory.

Najeh Davenpoop

December 8th, 2012
7:47 pm

Looking forward to watching a game against Memphis where Tony Allen can’t shut down Joe Johnson and singlehandedly render the Hawks’ offense impotent.

Memphis is a good defensive team, but Josh and Al should be able to get theirs against Gay and Randolph.

Sautee

December 8th, 2012
7:50 pm

“Josh and Al should be able to get theirs against Gay and Randolph.”

They can beat ‘em down the floor most trips. We need to rebound in order to run.

MattP

December 8th, 2012
7:51 pm

So are we going to see Jenkins get play time tonight or is Drew going to go for Tolliver off the bench at SF…

STUNTMAN

December 8th, 2012
7:56 pm

The Hawks outrebounded the Pacers and Nuggets the top 2 rebounding teams in the league, they proved they can crash the board against anybody

Chris Vivlamore

December 8th, 2012
8:01 pm

IF the Hawks beat the Grizzlies, they will have wins over all three Western Conference division leaders.

Sameba

December 8th, 2012
8:06 pm

So much will depend on Zaza today. If he can slow down Gasol we should win…

Najeh Davenpoop

December 8th, 2012
8:12 pm

A trap to open the game? Good call LD

Just Joe

December 8th, 2012
8:14 pm

Al draws Gasol. ZaZa on Randolph.

Najeh Davenpoop

December 8th, 2012
8:15 pm

Definitely confused as to why Zaza is on Randolph and Horford is on Gasol, rather than the other way around.

MattP

December 8th, 2012
8:15 pm

Oh great, Smith playing point.

Najeh Davenpoop

December 8th, 2012
8:17 pm

Hawks have done a good job getting their hands on passes so far, but they have not done a good job rotating on D in the half court.

Melvin

December 8th, 2012
8:17 pm

I don’t like the Josh/Rudy matchup for the Hawks….

Rod from College Park

December 8th, 2012
8:17 pm

Josh give the freakin ball up.

J.J.M.

December 8th, 2012
8:19 pm

rudy is going to take it to the rim lets see if josh will do the same

Najeh Davenpoop

December 8th, 2012
8:19 pm

Grizzlies 6 rebounds (2 offensive); Hawks 2 rebounds (0 offensive).

MattP

December 8th, 2012
8:20 pm

Josh is play stupid but what’s new.

hawkfan

December 8th, 2012
8:20 pm

I think that was the first time I’ve seen a crowd of Hawks fan at an away game lol

Najeh Davenpoop

December 8th, 2012
8:20 pm

The Josh/Rudy matchup is good for the Hawks on offense, but only if they call post ups for Josh to exploit it. On D, Josh has already lost Rudy on a screen once; hopefully that doesn’t become a problem.

Just Joe

December 8th, 2012
8:21 pm

They’ve now switched Al and ZaZa’s assignments.

Just Joe

December 8th, 2012
8:23 pm

Ivan getting under people’s skin already.

Najeh Davenpoop

December 8th, 2012
8:23 pm

Good to see Ivan in this game early.

Najeh Davenpoop

December 8th, 2012
8:23 pm

Hawks are doubling in the post and Memphis is finding the open guy every time. I’d rather see them make Randolph and Gasol win their one-on-one matchups in the post than give up open cutters to the basket.

Melvin

December 8th, 2012
8:25 pm

Rudy Gay should have been a Hawk. Thanks alot Billy Knight…

MattP

December 8th, 2012
8:26 pm

Wow, Drew screwed up what offense we hard. Lou came in and took point away from Teague.

Just Joe

December 8th, 2012
8:26 pm

Getting killed on the boards.

Najeh Davenpoop

December 8th, 2012
8:27 pm

Grizzlies 11 rebounds (4 offensive); Hawks 4 rebounds (2 offensive).

Josh and Al need to step it up on the offensive end. They are not getting good enough shots and not converting when they have gotten good looks.

Blast

December 8th, 2012
8:29 pm

Cheating refs. Sigh.

Najeh Davenpoop

December 8th, 2012
8:31 pm

Ivan — still the only Hawk big man who consistently stays around the hoop.

bigdave

December 8th, 2012
8:32 pm

What are those things on Devin’s feet…

Jae Evolution

December 8th, 2012
8:33 pm

Man that was awesome D by Bayless right there.

Sautee

December 8th, 2012
8:35 pm

Hero mentality:

Both Lou and Devin dribbling to set up their own shot instead of driving and kicking. The perils of flattening out to a 1 – 4.

Blast

December 8th, 2012
8:35 pm

Hawks can beat this team if they play smart, don’t turn the ball over, and win the rebounding edge.

Najeh Davenpoop

December 8th, 2012
8:37 pm

Don’t know if there is a more aggressive team on D than the Grizzlies in the league. Every pass, every handoff, every post up is contested.

J.J.M.

December 8th, 2012
8:40 pm

hawks will get blownout if nobody attempts to drive the ball

Najeh Davenpoop

December 8th, 2012
8:41 pm

If Anthony Morrow isn’t going to get shots, there’s not much of a point in keeping him on the floor. He isn’t going to make plays on D, on the boards, or by passing the ball. They need to run him off some screens and get him some looks. It’s not like this unit is doing much else offensively.

Devin showing why driving in the paint indiscriminately doesn’t always work for him. He gets there, doesn’t know what to do, and travels.

Melvin

December 8th, 2012
8:41 pm

Can anyone else touch the ball win Lou is in the game?

kwooden1

December 8th, 2012
8:41 pm

Very good first half, Memphis is playing well and we’re only down one.

Sautee

December 8th, 2012
8:41 pm

Blast, we have a long way to go rebounding. So far, they’ve doubled us up (17-8)