Atlanta Hawks game thread: First place on the line vs. Heat

Vivlamore reporting from Miami.

The Hawks will need a physical and strong rebounding effort against the Heat with first place in the division on the line tonight, according to coach Larry Drew.

The Hawks (12-5) trail the Heat (13-5) by just a half game for the Southeast Division lead and second place in the Eastern Conference.

“We have to play with a physicality coming into this building,” Drew said following morning shoot-around at American Airlines Arena. “It’s always a tough place to play, a tough place to win. We have to do not a good job but a great job a great job with our tempo. That is going to be determined with our shot selection. That is going to be how well we take care of the basketball. But more importantly, we have to rebound the ball. We have to come up with all the loose balls tonight. We have to limit them to one shot and then we have to a good job of running basketball.”

Based on my research on five of the Heat’s losses coming in the top seven highest opponents’ 3-point shooting percentage games (see earlier blog), Drew said he didn’t want his team firing from long range solely on such a reason.

“If we are shooting the 3-ball well, that’s one thing but I don’t think we can rely on it,” Drew said. “I don’t think we can come in here and totally be at the 3-point line. We have to make sure we play inside out. Hopefully we can establish ourselves in the low post. If the 3-pointer is there, I want it to present itself. I don’t want us to come into this building and think the way to win it is to launch a bunch of 3s.”

Al Horford said that while it’s early in the year, the Hawks realize that this is a big game.

In other items:

* Drew said the starting lineup is a game-time decision as he and his staff are still discussing options.

* Kyle Korver (back spasms) had a workout in Atlanta on Monday and a decision has not been when he will join the team. It could be Tuesday in Orlando for a practice before Wednesday’s game against the Magic.

* A decision has not been made on bringing rookie Mike Scott back from the NBA Development League. The Bakersfield (Calif.) Jam play Monday and not again until Friday. In his three games, Scott has averaged 10.7 points and 4.7 rebounds in 28.3 minutes.

- Chris Vivlamore

LATEST NEWS

* Josh Smith named Player of the Week

* 3-pointers may be key to defeating Heat

* Hawks 93, Grizzlies 83

* Harris not settling for jumpers

* Hawks 104, Wizards 95

* Korver out vs. Wizards, Grizzlies

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER @AJCHAWKS

325 comments Add your comment

bigdave

December 10th, 2012
4:15 pm

lets get it..

Samurai Squirrel

December 10th, 2012
4:15 pm

Let’s go Hawks!

MattP

December 10th, 2012
4:26 pm

I would love to see the Hawks win this game but everyone is starting to give the Hawks credit and we all know they usually fall apart when that happens.

Al22

December 10th, 2012
4:51 pm

MattP
this isn’t your Joe Johnson hawks..this team plays together, I think they’ll be fine….When Joe was here, we followed his lead, and we all know that he choked big time in the biggest stage…Lets go hawks!!!

Slimjr

December 10th, 2012
4:54 pm

Huge Game tonight!!!

Man that Cam Newton 72 yard run from scrimmage was a thing of beauty!

Slimjr

December 10th, 2012
4:55 pm

Guard play must be superior.

Grimey

December 10th, 2012
5:05 pm

Well atleast Mike scott is improving. Can you ask LD if he ever plans on putting J.Jenkins on the floor. Looks like they took him out of the d league for no reason

cp

December 10th, 2012
5:16 pm

The Hawks can win this game. They should have won the last one. I’m sure a lot of calls will go against them tonight but they have to keep battling like they did in the Memphis game.

Astro Joe

December 10th, 2012
5:27 pm

I hope they shoot the 3s within the flow of the game and not force shots from left and right. The Heat don’t have an elite shot-blocker so when the Hawks get past the wall and get in the paint, I hope they take the shot and not pass the ball out for a 23 footer.

Grandad

December 10th, 2012
5:40 pm

Rod from CP … *’`concerning yesterday`’* !

1st and foremost, I knew about Iggy`s rant, where he threw his
“teammate” under the bus, for which he was roundly
criticized:
with his Criticizors basically saying:
He who has imperfection in thine own game shalt not throweth
the 1st stone. *[paraphrase]

You were also correct, I did not bother to post the article where I
had previously read contradictory [to your] statements, relative to
Lou`s defense.

note – off topic – I never said KKorv was a Great def player.
*[please keep statements in context]

Now I will cite my site: [no research necessary]
-as I just had to go back and find it and re-read-

SportingCharts.com

The NBA’s Best Defensive Players (2011-2012)

Using raw opponent PER numbers to create league-wide rankings
would not yield a completely accurate picture,
since each position on the floor has its own standard
of what would be considered good offense/defense
(an “average” point guard may have a different PER
than an “average” center, for example).

So, this list will be broken down by position.
The primary position each man plays has been determined
by using stats kept at 82games.com,
where the position each player spent the most time playing
last season is considered his primary spot in the lineup.
In order to qualify for these rankings,
a player had to play in at least 30 percent of his team’s minutes
last year (an average of at least 14 minutes per game).
Let’s take a look at who shined in 2011-12
when it came to clamping down on their “opposite number”:

Point Guards

Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics
* Opponent PER: 10.9

Louis Williams, Philadelphia 76ers
*Opponent PER: 11.2

Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
Opponent PER: 11.7

Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics
*Opponent PER: 12.0

Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
Opponent PER: 12.8

Some of the players on this list
are known for playing solid defense,
but others, like
*’` Louis Williams and Chris Paul `’*
might surprise some people.

ignition

December 10th, 2012
5:45 pm

This game is in Teague’s hands, he has to have a strong game today for us to win..
He has got to be aggressive …

JM

December 10th, 2012
5:48 pm

Via HawksHoop on Josh winning player of the week: this is the second time Josh has won the award. This time was for Dec 3-9, the other time was back in 07, also for the week of Dec 3-9. Kinda weird, eh?

http://hawkshoop.com/josh-smith-wins-player-of-the-week-award/

Grandad

December 10th, 2012
5:58 pm

ag … *** … —> [from a prev i o u s blog]

Don`t ever worry `bout raggin` on me.
That`s why I let you know I had already come clean about LD.

I`m still not gonna jump on the LD band-wagon;
BUT,
I`m certainly going to wish him all the luck and good fortune
that I can conjure up.
The man has paid his [coaching] dues.
In that regard he deserves our support.

Once again;
have at it with anythin` I say, `cause ain`t no tellin` what
i`m liable to be up to.

Najeh Davenpoop

December 10th, 2012
6:03 pm

Could this be the year the Hawks finally get both Josh and Al onto the All Star team? If they keep winning, they are going to merit 2 roster spots.

I want to know where the small but vocal anti-Smoove contingent is, almost 100% of whose posts involve whining about basketball IQ and proposing idiotic trades for Pau Gasol.

Najeh Davenpoop

December 10th, 2012
6:05 pm

“Using raw opponent PER numbers to create league-wide rankings
would not yield a completely accurate picture,
since each position on the floor has its own standard
of what would be considered good offense/defense
(an “average” point guard may have a different PER
than an “average” center, for example).”

More importantly, among those players you cited, Lou played more minutes against opponents’ backups than anyone else there. Playing against second-string players can work wonders for your defensive stats.

Najeh Davenpoop

December 10th, 2012
6:07 pm

FACTS
November 27th, 2012
7:14 am

All Star, Eastern Conference Player Of The Week, etc.

Al actually wins things. All Josh win

LOL

Najeh Davenpoop

December 10th, 2012
6:15 pm

Hawks are 1-4 in their last 5 against the Heat but for the most part they have played them close since they assembled their Big 3. The D will be put to the test in this game but I think the Hawks can hang around. Not having Korver will hurt, though. Half court offensive execution is a problem for this team without Korver.

Johnny

December 10th, 2012
6:15 pm

Hey Guys. I am from Germany and I’ve read this Blog and your comments for a while. I applogize for my bad english:) i watch almost every Hawks Game at Night or on demand the Morning after the Night. Tonight against the Heat. I am looking forward to this Game. Important is the Shot selection and be carefull with TO. But i think our fast Game will also gave the Heat some problems. At least i hope so.
Lets go Hawks

soullrenaissance

December 10th, 2012
6:42 pm

The warm and semi-tropical south beach is about to get a lot colder come tip-off. The Hawk will descend chill south beach to the bone.

Rod from College Park

December 10th, 2012
6:51 pm

Grandad,

Are you going to look at a nonsense stat like PER especially to determine a players defensive ability, or listen to teammates, and his coach and the rest of the league. No reason in the world Philly would let a guy go who was their best offensive player last year, if he was was a good defender like you say for 5 million per. It’s one of his weak points, just like Jamal, they both more than make up for it on the offensive side of the ball. He is not considered a good defensive player in the league. If you think that he and Kyle Korver should be getting all defense votes at the end of the year, thats on you. Iggy has earned the right to throw a guy under the bus for not playing defense, especially if the coach of that team hinted at it on a regular basis.

Slimjr

December 10th, 2012
6:54 pm

F- -t checker is a puss.

F U——-> Forgive you.lol

Chris Vivlamore

December 10th, 2012
6:55 pm

Hawks starters: Teague, Harris, Stevenson, Smith and Horford

Slimjr

December 10th, 2012
6:58 pm

Check C-Viv..

Perimeter shots have to fall like they did for the New York Knicks a few nights ago.

Josh has to continue to play big!

Jesse

December 10th, 2012
7:08 pm

Time to move the Hawks section up on the sports page. I can’t believe it’s below the Braves during the Braves off season. Hawks deserve more respect.

Astro Joe

December 10th, 2012
7:10 pm

Just saw that Haslem is out with the flu.

NATIVE SON

December 10th, 2012
7:18 pm

I can’t stand any team that has the so called ” BIG THREE”!!! So lets whoop some Miami Heat Butt!!!

Jesse

December 10th, 2012
7:21 pm

They need Korver for this game. He’d totally shut Lebron down with his D.

Grandad

December 10th, 2012
7:26 pm

Najeh

I reckon he [Lou] got his points vs scrubs as well;
therefore, Lou is a scrub.
Conclusion;
I`m sorry we signed the Dork.
_____________________________________________

Grandad

December 10th, 2012
7:26 pm

Old Man Peabody

December 10th, 2012
7:27 pm

As a Dade County native, i thing the Hawks get this one tonight. Since Lebron and Bosh joined D Wade in MIA, the Hawks have won a game each season. Last yeah Hawks won the 1st one in MIA, so i’ll give them this one this year. Miami needs to start playing better defense, cause all teams are doing is swinging the ball around and knocking down open 3s.

Old Man Peabody

December 10th, 2012
7:28 pm

Najeh Davenpoop

December 10th, 2012
7:28 pm

I’m guessing Stevenson checks Wade, Josh gets LeBron, and Al gets Bosh… which means Harris is probably going to guard Battier. I hope when they inevitably post up Battier on Harris the Hawks don’t go crazy trying to help.

Lou (and maybe Morrow) is going to have to show his defensive chops tonight, since they will likely have to guard Ray Allen for stretches at a time.

Najeh Davenpoop

December 10th, 2012
7:31 pm

It is 7:30 and plenty of good seats look to be available at American Airlines Arena.

Smokey

December 10th, 2012
7:31 pm

@ Johnny – Welcome

Lets go hawks, keep this thing rolling.

Old Man Peabody

December 10th, 2012
7:37 pm

Crowds arrive late for any game starting before 8 in MIA, it should be a full house by mid 1 qtr. They are honoring Smitty and Glenn Rice at half time.

Grandad

December 10th, 2012
7:41 pm

R.f C.P.

Please keep in context.

You said cite an article.
I did.
You mentioned Iggy`s rant, so be it.

I did not put one over the other.

KKorv;
I never said he was all NBA defender, great defender …
or anything like that.
I said better than given credit for, solid team defender,
or something of that nature.
Also said he plays defense with his mind.
KKorv has lived up to whatever I said;
a willing defender who gives effort, and is always in pos.

Please do not put words in that I did not say.

You said I should take Iggy`s word over some article:
No, I should take what I see with my eyes.
Lou, for us has been a solid defender.
Better at defending the pg than the [2];
which is what I saiud previously.

Also; Lou is a better defender than Jamal. [period] !

Before you implode;
I liked Jamal when he was with us, liked him before he was with us,
like him still today.

I would have preferred we kept Jamal than Joe and stated such.

Now … I`m happy with Lou.
By the way, I always thought Jamal gave better effort on def
than he got credit.

On the things of which I speak … I know, because I watch !
Especially thre defense,
probably moreso than anyone on this blog !

Thanks

Grandad

December 10th, 2012
7:43 pm

Najeh

I`m still here, I still admire PGasol.
Josh still has shortcomings.

However,
now is not the time to respond.

More to come later this eve.

My full disclosure of [My] feelings toward Josh !

Najeh Davenpoop

December 10th, 2012
7:43 pm

Nice ball movement. Good things happen when the ball goes inside.

Najeh Davenpoop

December 10th, 2012
7:44 pm

If Josh makes LeBron shoot those shots all night he would have done a good job.

Grandad

December 10th, 2012
7:44 pm

GoHawks !!!!!!!

MattP

December 10th, 2012
7:45 pm

Hawks need to let Teague play point…

Najeh Davenpoop

December 10th, 2012
7:49 pm

Josh throws a better deep ball than Matt Ryan.

Blast

December 10th, 2012
7:50 pm

Josh, three assists already.

bigdave

December 10th, 2012
7:51 pm

All day long boy!!

MattP

December 10th, 2012
7:51 pm

surprisingly the fouls are looking good for the Hawks.

Blast

December 10th, 2012
7:51 pm

And his first bucket is an and 1.

Najeh Davenpoop

December 10th, 2012
7:52 pm

If Josh can find a way to score consistently going to his right, he can easily average 20 points per game. That is not an easy move, especially against one of the league’s best defensive players.

keith

December 10th, 2012
7:54 pm

Hawks starters: Teague, Harris, Stevenson, Smith and Horford

This line-up makes the most sense for right now. Stevenson and Smith help balance the Basketball Court. Korver should start at the SG when he returns.

kevkat

December 10th, 2012
7:54 pm

Najeh Davenpoop

December 10th, 2012
7:49 pm

Josh throws a better deep ball than Matt Ryan.

Ryan throws a deep ball?

bigdave

December 10th, 2012
7:58 pm

Foul! Every time.