Atlanta Hawks game thread: A share of first place on the line

Vivlamore (a little weary) reporting.

The Hawks have another chance to claim first place in the Southeast Division tonight. With a victory over the Bobcats, the Hawks would match the 14-6 record of the Heat. A loss to the Heat Monday prevented the Hawks from overtaking Miami for the division lead and second place in the Eastern Conference.

Coach Larry Drew said he wants his team concentrating on the task at hand.

“I really haven’t been paying attention to standings,” Drew said. “I’ve just been trying to really focus game by game. I know when we went down there and had an opportunity we came up short. After that Miami game, I told our guys let’s not concern ourselves with standings and what people are saying. Let’s go out and take it a game at a time and try to play our best basketball.”

In other news:

* Forward Josh Smith is eighth in fan voting for frontcourt players in the Eastern Conference. The NBA released its first balloting update Thursday and Smith had 69,344 votes. He is behind LeBron James (641,348), Carmelo Anthony (573,112), Kevin Garnett (218,246), Chris Bosh (210,724), Tyson Chandler (151,744), Paul Pierce (114,735) and Joakim Noah (73,366).

Center Al Horford was not among the top 15 frontcourt vote getters. Guard Jeff Teague was not among the top 10 backcourt vote getters.

The All-Star ballot lists 120 players – 60 each from the Eastern and Western conferences – with 36 frontcourt and 24 guards.

Balloting concludes on Jan. 14, and starters will be announced on Jan. 17. This season’s game will be played on Feb. 17 at the Toyota Center in Houston.

* Kyle Korver returns to the starting lineup tonight. He played 23 minutes against the Magic last night after missing five games with back spasms. Drew said he will again limit Korver but expected him to play around 20 minutes. The rest of the starting lineup against the Bobcats is Jeff Teague, DeShawn Stevenson, Smith and Horford.

* In the Hawks’ last meeting with the Bobcats, a 94-91 win on Nov. 28, Ben Gordon almost single-handedly won the game with a 20-point fourth quarter. I asked Drew what specifically he planned to limit Gordon tonight.

“I don’t want to get into specifics but going back and looking at the last time we played this team we did some things well, we did some things not so well,” Drew said. “We’ve already talked about the adjustments we’ll make from the last time we played this team. We still have to be concerned with how good this team is off the dribble. They’re really good off the dribble. They have guys who can break the defense down. Now that they have (Gerald) Henderson back it gives them another guy. We are going to have to be good defending off the ball. We’re going to have to be good getting back on defense because they will run.”

* Finally, the Bobcats have lost nine straight. Drew doesn’t want to be the team to snap the streak. He said energy will be the key to the game as both teams played and travelled last night.

- Chris Vivlamore

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85 comments Add your comment

Nimbers Don't Lie

December 13th, 2012
7:04 pm

Nimbers Don't Lie

December 13th, 2012
7:05 pm

Guards have to do a better job on D than last time.

High-sider

December 13th, 2012
7:06 pm

Rusty

December 13th, 2012
7:08 pm

Vava 74 ,
You make a hell of a lot more sense than Astro Joe.
Keith
You make no sense at all.

Rusty

December 13th, 2012
7:13 pm

I almost think that Keith might be LD’ wife,

Jae Evolution

December 13th, 2012
7:14 pm

“How has your relationship with the front office changed since Danny Ferry took over?

JS: I’ve always had a good relationship with the management. It’s nothing against Rick Sund, but Danny Ferry worked for a lot of successful organizations in Cleveland and San Antonio, so I think he brought that winning attitude to this team and it has trickled down to the coaches and the players.”

http://hoopshype.com/interviews/sierra/josh-smith-danny-ferrys-winning-attitude-has-trickled-down-to-the-coaches-and-players#od6GT8o4FYbQlFo7.99

High-sider

December 13th, 2012
7:15 pm

Hawks, tie this [Southeast] Division race [up with the Heat] – at least for the time being.

[For you (technical) NBA pundits] I know the Heat currently own[s] the tiebreaker over the Hawks.

Slimjr

December 13th, 2012
7:36 pm

Sund had been out to lunch for 32 plus years..Happy fishing..

Josh is the MVP of his Team: The Atlanta Hawks!

Can Josh get 5 more blocks tonight or will the guards step up and stop the dribble penetration that routinely eats our interior [D] like a Great White dining on a Fur Seal..

Somebody on this blog actually wanted to trade Josh for Buster Gasol..

C’mon Keith

Old Man Peabody

December 13th, 2012
7:41 pm

How much does Kemba Walker score tonight?

Samurai Squirrel

December 13th, 2012
7:41 pm

Josh Smith should dominate this matchup!

Samurai Squirrel

December 13th, 2012
7:43 pm

Love Deshawn Stevenson’s kicks! The red is awesome.

Slimjr

December 13th, 2012
7:44 pm

Man Phillips is empty tonight Danny!

Slimjr

December 13th, 2012
7:47 pm

14 mins Woody gets his Lawn chair out and runs the Lakers back to LA!

My chips are ready

Old Man Peabody

December 13th, 2012
7:47 pm

That’s because this city doesn’t support this team.

Slimjr

December 13th, 2012
7:49 pm

The Glue is feeling it!

Go Kyle Korver!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

High-sider

December 13th, 2012
7:53 pm

This [Bobcats-Hawks game] is the ultimate “trap game” for the Hawks. This Bobcats [squad] is currently on a 9-game losing streak and a Hawks win tonight will tie it [the Hawks] up with the Heat for a share of the lead in the Southeast Division.

Hawks, beware of “Microwave 2.0″ [Ben Gordon].

Big Crimson 75

December 13th, 2012
8:04 pm

Congrats to the Hawks.
T-1 on the line tonight after 20 Games.
Al & Josh are playing well — their leading this Team.
LD deserves some credit also.
Catwalk game tonight.

Big Crimson 75

December 13th, 2012
8:04 pm

*also known as a cake-walk game!!

Big Ray

December 13th, 2012
8:14 pm

Morrow ain’t gonna get minutes from LD with Korver shooting like this.

Big Ray

December 13th, 2012
8:16 pm

Can Josh get 5 more blocks tonight or will the guards step up and stop the dribble penetration that routinely eats our interior [D] like a Great White dining on a Fur Seal..

That would be the question. Time for team defense, not “Josh save us” defense. Inexcusable.

Sautee

December 13th, 2012
8:16 pm

Ray, I think fouling a jumpshooter (twice) probably pisses LD off even worse than missing 3s.

Big Ray

December 13th, 2012
8:17 pm

Yep….porous transition defense.

Big Ray

December 13th, 2012
8:17 pm

Sautee – you’re probably right!

Big Ray

December 13th, 2012
8:18 pm

Al Horford….no help defense, bruh? Come the F on..!

Big Ray

December 13th, 2012
8:19 pm

Much better that time…

Big Ray

December 13th, 2012
8:21 pm

Sautee ,

Well you know Morrow (and every other shooter) needs minutes to warm his jumper up. I guess he needs minutes to warm his defense up, too? Professor Rod failed to instruct us on that one.

;)

High-sider

December 13th, 2012
8:21 pm

I hope the Knicks destroy the Lakers tonight [on TNT].

Slimjr

December 13th, 2012
8:21 pm

Knicks up 13-5

Melo with 3 straight 3-Balls!

Big Ray

December 13th, 2012
8:22 pm

Ivan said “no more weak ish”…..nice…love the aggression…

Big Ray

December 13th, 2012
8:23 pm

High Sider ,

They will. Lakers are in trouble, and not just for this particular game.

Big Ray

December 13th, 2012
8:24 pm

Al woke up and provided the help defense again. Good to see.

Big Ray

December 13th, 2012
8:25 pm

Teague you dumba$$…if you hadn’t been lax on the play to begin with, that would not have happened.

High-sider

December 13th, 2012
8:30 pm

I can’t fade these [ticket] prices and I ain’t [sic] ashamed to admit it.

“TICKETS AREN’T CHEAP: According to the website Tiqiq.com, which tracks ticket prices on the secondary market, tickets for Knicks-Lakers on Thursday are astronomically priced.

The current average ticket price is $567.01, which ranks as the fourth-most expensive game in the NBA this season. The average price for this game is 71.57 percent above the Knicks’ cumulative home average ticket price of $330.48. The highest-priced ticket listed is in VIP Courtside 12 Row AA for $26,000. ”

http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/knicks/post/_/id/30617/kobe-melo-is-the-toughest-cover-in-nba

Sautee

December 13th, 2012
8:30 pm

Great to see Horford giving a hard foul at the rim.

keith

December 13th, 2012
8:31 pm

Devin Harris—Kyle Korver–and Lou Williams–Our new BIG 3 “ON FIRE”

Slimjr

December 13th, 2012
8:33 pm

Melo with 16 pts in 8:30 mins!

Slimjr

December 13th, 2012
8:33 pm

Still in the 1st Quarter!

keith

December 13th, 2012
8:35 pm

D12 belongs on this team. Come home you Big Dummy. He looks like a fish out of water with the Lakers 2-night…..

Slimjr

December 13th, 2012
8:40 pm

Lakers are toast!

Lakers look 3 steps slow tonight! WOW!!!!!!

Slimjr

December 13th, 2012
8:41 pm

Melo with 20 pts, in 11 mins!

Slimjr

December 13th, 2012
8:41 pm

22 in 11:29! Melo!!!!!

High-sider

December 13th, 2012
8:42 pm

D’Antoni has a look on his face that says, “‘Melo, why didn’t you play like that for me?”

Slimjr

December 13th, 2012
8:43 pm

Lakers give up 41 pts in the QUARTER!WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HawkFan

December 13th, 2012
8:44 pm

Question for the blog. Are we better with Al and a quality SF with Josh still on the team or with D12 and no Al. I enjoy watching Al play more than D12.

Sautee

December 13th, 2012
8:53 pm

Hawkfan,

IMO if we keep both Josh and Al, and add a stud SF, we’d STILL need a long, rangy shot blocker off the bench.

Grandad

December 13th, 2012
8:53 pm

I`m starting to really *’`{[(really)]}`’* Like this Team !

Very Unselfish, Team Basketball !

High-sider

December 13th, 2012
8:54 pm

HawkFan,

I just saw D12 miss a dunk so I don’t know if I can [objectively] answer your question right now.

Melvin

December 13th, 2012
8:56 pm

I like the way Josh is playing tonight.

Slimjr

December 13th, 2012
8:58 pm

30-9 run by the Knicks! The route is on!

Knicks up26

Melvin

December 13th, 2012
8:58 pm

Hawks are killing the Bobcats with the 3’s