Game Thread: Smith out vs. Pacers (updated)

Vivlamore reporting. I’m back from Cleveland and ready for tonight’s game against the Pacers.

The Hawks will be without Josh Smith for tonight’s game against the Pacers due to a strained right hip flexor.

Smith experienced pain in the hip area on Friday and played for most of the game against the Cavaliers. However, he was unable to play in the fourth quarter.

Smith was still not moving well enough to play before Saturday’s game.

“As far as the severity, I don’t know but it’s sore,” coach Larry Drew said. “We finished our walk-through and he’s been having it treated. We wanted to see how he could move out of the floor. He wasn’t moving very well so we decided to shut him down for tonight.”

The Hawks will also be without Devin Harris (sore left foot) for the sixth straight game and Anthony Morrow (right hip strain). Morrow was injured in the first half against the Cavaliers and was unable to continue.

Al Horford (right hip contusion) will start. Ivan Johnson (stomach illness), who missed Friday’s game, will be available off the bench. Drew, however, said he would wait until the game to see if there were any limitations of the two.

* With Smith out, the Hawks will start Zaza Pachulia at center, with the 3-0 guard tandem of Jeff Teague and Lou Williams and Kyle Korver and Horford at forward.

Drew said he thought about going with a smaller lineup, by starting DeShawn Stevenson, but decided to match the height of the Pacers – 7-foot-2 Roy Hibbert in particular.

“Roy Hibbert,” Drew said of the reason for a bigger lineup. “We went back and forth about going with the lineup that we have been using our last three wins (Williams at shooting guard). We’ve been going with a smaller lineup and had success with it. I had to make the decision to change it and match up with them. Now, with Josh out, it made my decision a little easier.”

* Drew also said he would likely play rookies John Jenkins and Mike Scott again tonight. Both played eight minutes against the Cavs with Jenkins scoring five points.

“There is a strong possibility they are going to get some more minutes tonight, I tell you that,” Drew said. “I think both guys are chomping at the bit. They want to be out there. They’ve been very patient through this process being rookies and not getting a lot of playing time.”

* Horford has struggled with his free-throw shooting at times this season so the Hawks center looked at video of a recent game to reveal what has been wrong.

Horford watched his attempts from Wednesday’s game against the Pistons, where he went 4 of 8 from the line. One of those attempts, if made, could have prevented overtime.

Horford said he discovered an issue with his release.

“Going back and looking at the (Pistons) game, I’ve gotten away from the little things that make a big difference with my release on the free throw,” Horford said after Friday’s victory over the Cavaliers. “I looked at it on video and there were some bad habits that I’ve fixed in the past but have crept up this year. It’s one of those things that I have to stay on top of and remember and when I do (it right) I feel really good.

“Now, it’s just a matter of I have to keep reminding myself to keep doing it the same way because it feels really good when I shoot it like that.”

Horford made both his free throws Friday night in Cleveland. The makes came with 34.6 seconds remaining and were part of a 9-0 Hawks’ run to close out the game.

For the season, Horford has made 51 of 87 attempts (.586).

Horford is far from the only Hawks player having trouble from the free-throw line this season. The Hawks entered Saturday’s game against the Pacers 28th in the NBA in free-throw shooting, converting just 71.9 percent of their attempts.

- Chris Vivlamore

LATEST NEWS

* Hawks 102, Cavaliers 94

* Drew acknowledges Smith’s ‘poor shot selection’ late vs. Pistons

* Johnson doubtful vs. Cavs with stomach illness

* Drew speaks to Teague about energy level

* Hawks 126, Pistons 119 (2OT)

* Williams remains in starting lineup

* Is Josh Smith an All-Star?

* Hawks 92, Bulls 75

* Williams to start vs. Bulls

* Sixers 99, Hawks 80

* Harris out vs. Sixers

* Hawks have lost two of past three

* Williams ready for return to Philadelphia

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER @AJCHAWKS

257 comments Add your comment

Rusty

December 29th, 2012
5:03 pm

Enter your comments here

Rusty

December 29th, 2012
5:05 pm

I’ve never seen any player with the quickness & explosiviness of westbrooke. That man has major hops.

Rusty

December 29th, 2012
5:15 pm

I find it amazing that someone can go from a mediocre jump shooter to a great jump shooter after playing so many years in the NBA as Jason Kidd has.

Jimmy Crack

December 29th, 2012
5:17 pm

Al was great knocking those down. He could probably use a day or two off for his hip to rest.

Admiral SnAckbar

December 29th, 2012
5:25 pm

big game tonite.
go Hawks

Slimjr

December 29th, 2012
5:27 pm

Al or somebody in his circle are reading these blogs? hmmmmm

Good for you Al..

Hey Josh you want shooting lessons. Hit us up here on the blog. Ken S. and I will fix that aching jumper of yours lickety split!

Slimjr

December 29th, 2012
5:29 pm

Nique in his prime had a 47 inch vert!

Slimjr

December 29th, 2012
5:34 pm

That maybe a good idea to rest Al and also protect him from the mountain man who took him out for the season last year..

Larry you must protect Al tonight! Start Zaza out there..

A Trap?

Slimjr

December 29th, 2012
5:52 pm

FTPB

“So why didn’t that work for the Knicks last year? 4-1 Miami, as I remember. And LOTS of drives to the rim by LeBron. Did Chandler become somehow less intimidating?” -Sautee-

Comparing the Dallas Championship Squad vs. the Knicks last season playoff run is like comparing:

Apples and Box Cars…

Let me say this, James like all the great ones looked at the film and decided to worked on his post moves..Also he realized you attack Bigs with your quickness..Use your quickness to neutralize the size of the opposing defender..

Chandler did not change. Lebron made incredible changes to his offensive game which made him a legend at 27 years of age…

Slimjr

December 29th, 2012
5:55 pm

Rusty, Gerald Green can put his Adams Apple on the rim!

The Street says his vert is around a 50!

You talk about almost supernatural hops?

Slimjr

December 29th, 2012
6:08 pm

NORRIS CHUCK

December 29th, 2012
6:08 pm

Chris,

When Josh Smith starts working on his free throws, then write a story about that!

O'brien

December 29th, 2012
6:28 pm

C-viv is on it. He has covered Teague not being aggressive enough, Josh and his shot selection, and now Al and his FT. All in a week’s work. Giving the people what they want.

O'brien

December 29th, 2012
6:30 pm

Slim,

Al will be at PF, so he won’t be guarded by Hibbert. He may have his hands full with David West though. Key for me will be Teague. He needs to be aggressive from the start

Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde

December 29th, 2012
6:33 pm

Injuries are apart of the the game. People just have to step up.

W.R. Terrell

December 29th, 2012
6:37 pm

The “Smoove”, is out for this game. Personally I think he needs a serious rest for the hip flexor, mebbee 7 – 8 games. I know the team will be a wreck without him but that’s the way it goes. While he is recuperating tho I think there are a few things he could do for himself and the team; Practice his free throw shooting, play lets pretend I am not a point guard and for the sake of having fun play I am not a jump shooter and never will be and no turnover the ball with silliness. The HAWKS will be alright until you return. Lets face it, the HAWKS may lose some games but they will lose them with the “Smoove”, also. The HAWKS need to establish cohesion with the nucleus they have because the future is coming and the “Smoove”, may not be part of it.

Grandad

December 29th, 2012
6:37 pm

Hey Yawl … Great read :
Bil Simmons / Grantland / about Bill Russell & Kobe

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8724362/the-kobe-question

Rev in Tampa

December 29th, 2012
6:38 pm

“Drew also said he would likely play rookies John Jenkins and Mike Scott again tonight. Both played eight minutes against the Cavs with Jenkins scoring five points. ‘There is a strong possibility they are going to get some more minutes tonight, I tell you that,’ Drew said.”

We all know what this means… It’s like a preacher looking at his watch while he is preaching. IT MEANS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!!

Scott and Jenkins better bring their seat cushions with them to the game tonight because they ain’t leaving the bench.

W.R. Terrell

December 29th, 2012
6:43 pm

I think if LD wants to keep a job he better start using the HAWKS 1st round pick and finding out what Scott can bring to the table also.

keith

December 29th, 2012
6:43 pm

“NO UGLY OR ILL-ADVISED SHOTS TONIGHT” NO GAS FACE TONIGHT!!!

This is an “Outstanding” opportunity to get a glimpse into what next years’ team will look like. Very interested. I have to watch this one from start to finish. I will not have to “cringe” and hold my breath when Josh takes one of those “ugly” shots of his….

doc

December 29th, 2012
6:43 pm

slimj ftpb

rod who?

SteveW

December 29th, 2012
6:43 pm

DWade in his prime had the explosiveness of Westbrook, if not more. Speed to burn…

vava74

December 29th, 2012
6:44 pm

Grandad,

I had already posted that. Really nice piece. Simmons throws a few gems like that every once in a while making it worth it to follow him.

Reggie

December 29th, 2012
6:48 pm

Off the subject but how’s that Joe Johnson trade working for ya Brooklyn? Addition by subtraction. Much as I hate his sub patterns Larry Drew will be a hot item by NBA teams if the Hawks dont retain him. He has proven to be better than Woody with the same talent. The success of Woodson in New York with more talent will only make teams think that Drew will make them that much better. Hopefully this fool plays Jenkins tonight.

Grandad

December 29th, 2012
6:57 pm

For what I`m about to say;
will someone please interpret for Rusty.

Jeff the Teaguer had a Great ……. offensive ……. game last eve.
Kyrie had, ahem, 28 points.

All along I`ve said:
Teaguer Needs To / Must be a Defensive Stopper at the point;
moreso than worry about his offense.
In other words, when he finds his “[so called] Inner dawg”
thet InnerDawg should / Must be Defense.

Some, myself included, wish to compare Jeff to Rondo.
In that event;
Rondo was a defensive DobermanPitBullMastiff 1st & foremost,
and his offense has matured right along.

I will be happy with JT if he puts up these #s on off:
3-1 TO ratio; 45% shooting; 34% from three; between 6-8 assts per,
and 85%+ FTs.

However, on Def;
I want him to scare the Hell out of opposing pgs.
He clamped down on Rose / play-offs `11.
That`s his ticket !

Grandad

December 29th, 2012
6:59 pm

45% shooting from the field is the most lofty goal I set.

Rev in Tampa

December 29th, 2012
7:00 pm

After the way Zaza filled in for Al last year, and the way he has played this year, I’m feeling pretty good about tonight’s game. If Teague shows up, the Hawks will be just fine.

Sautee

December 29th, 2012
7:00 pm

slimjr,

Apparently, I have to explain this to you:

Here’s what you posted in the last blog:

“Not a fair comparison for AL.. He does not intimidate anyone in this league.. Chandler does…”

“How many times did King James give up on his dribble penetration into the painted area when he saw the 7′1″ center step up to defend..Time and again he pass the rock rather go in there and get his ish mailed back to Miami…” – slimjr
——————————————————————————————-

To which I replied: “So why didn’t that work for the Knicks last year? 4-1 Miami, as I remember. And LOTS of drives to the rim by LeBron. Did Chandler become somehow less intimidating?”

Was there any attempt on my part to compare Dallas and NY? No, I was referring, AS YOU WERE, to Chandler’s intimidation.

Get it now?

keith

December 29th, 2012
7:02 pm

I could sell “Nique” a nicer suit than he is wearing tonight…Come on Nique???

Rev in Tampa

December 29th, 2012
7:08 pm

Keith,

I’d beware of trying to sell Nique a suit. You might get punched out.

drmaryb.(""_*).

December 29th, 2012
7:14 pm

Hibbit – Hobbit!

Hibbert looks like a special olympian running back on defense. LOL

Rev in Tampa

December 29th, 2012
7:16 pm

Korver is going to struggle with Paul George tonight.

keith

December 29th, 2012
7:17 pm

Nice shot by Lou!!!!!

keith

December 29th, 2012
7:18 pm

Nice shot Al

Rev in Tampa

December 29th, 2012
7:19 pm

Al is quick enough that he should not be giving that much space to West on the perimeter.

keith

December 29th, 2012
7:19 pm

GREAT TEAM DEFENSE TONIGHT!!! LOVING THIS EFFORT!!!

Just Joe

December 29th, 2012
7:22 pm

Is that the new release?

keith

December 29th, 2012
7:23 pm

MVP KYLE KORVER BALLIN!!!!

Just Joe

December 29th, 2012
7:23 pm

Here comes the rook!

keith

December 29th, 2012
7:24 pm

A JOHN JENKINS EARLY SIGHTING??????

Rev in Tampa

December 29th, 2012
7:25 pm

Well, I’ll be. Ivan and Jenkins in the first quarter. I am surprised.

MattP

December 29th, 2012
7:28 pm

Surprised Tolliver didn’t come in at SF and Stevenson at SG. Glad to see Jenkins and Johnson getting in early.

keith

December 29th, 2012
7:29 pm

NICE STROKE JOHN JENKINS!!!!

MattP

December 29th, 2012
7:29 pm

Lou 7 assists already? lol

Rev in Tampa

December 29th, 2012
7:29 pm

If Jenkins can learn to stop the dribble penetration he will have a career in the NBA.

keith

December 29th, 2012
7:30 pm

THIS TEAM PLAYS BETTER WITHOUT JOSH SMITH BOYS!!!

Rev in Tampa

December 29th, 2012
7:30 pm

Ivan came to play big boy basketball.

Rev in Tampa

December 29th, 2012
7:32 pm

Petro, Jenkins, & Ivan? All getting playing time in the first quarter and extending the lead!

keith

December 29th, 2012
7:32 pm

GREAT HELP DEFENSE IVAN….

Melvin

December 29th, 2012
7:34 pm

With the potential of Jenkins and the depth at guard position. The Hawks should explore trading Harris. No need to pay him 8.5mil when they can easily replace his production and utilize his salary to upgrade the wing position.