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
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