Game thread: Smith back in Hawks lineup (updated)

Vivlamore reporting from Houston.

Josh Smith returned to the Hawks lineup Monday against the Rockets. The forward missed the team’s last game, a win over the Pacers Saturday, with a strained right hip flexor.

According to Smith the extra day of rest was beneficial.

“I’m going to play,” Smith said. “It always helps when you have an injury and you can get some extra treatment and extra therapy.”

But is Smith still in pain?

“I’m going to play,” he said. “I’m all right.”

The Hawks didn’t hold a shootaround Monday but Smith warmed up prior to the game and declared himself ready.

“Prior to our last game we wanted him to rest and treat it,” coach Larry Drew said. “It’s feeling better. We wanted to wait and see how he did when he got over to the gym today. He went out and warmed up and he felt pretty good.”

* With Smith back, the Hawks returned to a starting lineup of Jeff Teague and Lou Williams at guard, Kyle Korver and Smith at forward and Al Horford at center.

* Guard Devin Harris (sore left foot) and Anthony Morrow (right hip strain) did not travel with the team to Houston. According to Drew, they will also miss Tuesday’s game at New Orleans. They remain in Atlanta and a further evaluation will be made when the team returns.

* The Hawks will be looking to avenge their season-opening loss to the Rockets with James Harden went for 45 points. Williams will draw the initial defensive assignment on Harden.

Drew said the Hawks’ defensive lapses were the main issues in the 109-102 loss at Philips Arena.

“We are going to have to do a good job stopping dribble penetration,” Drew said. “That was the one thing that just killed us the last time we played this team. They just continually got to the basket. A lot of was just off of our pick-and-roll coverage. We didn’t do a good job on our pick-and-roll coverage. They are a team that plays a real up-tempo style, make or miss. Our last game they really pushed the ball down our throat. We didn’t get back and get matched (up defensively). It’s going to be important that we try to control the rhythm of this game and not try to get into a jump-shooting contest or run-and-shoot contest with this team. This team is built for that.”

* I asked Drew if he would take a different tactic with Harden considering his 45-point effort in November.

“I remember. Don’t remind me,” Drew said of Harden’s game. “We just have to be better with our defensive coverages. That’s where we had the breakdown. I think defensively we are in a better place that the first game of the season.”

* The Hawks will be looking to avenge another home loss with a win on the road. The Hawks defeated the Cavaliers Friday after Cleveland won at Philips Arena in November.

- Chris Vivlamore

LATEST NEWS

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* Smith out vs. Pacers

* 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

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211 comments Add your comment

Astro Joe

December 31st, 2012
5:55 pm

Welcome back, Josh.

For those who seem to always side with the players (as if they can do no wrong), I offer you this story from another team/head coach:

Under current coach Rick Carlisle, the Mavs had no such luck on Sunday in snapping a five-game swoon. Instead, though the Mavs showed signs of competing, the team was blown out by the San Antonio Spurs in a 111-86 embarrassment. And Carlisle, according to the Dallas Morning News’ Eddie Sefko, has had it up to here. (Points to his forehead.) “I [have] to be inventive and find ways,” he said. “I don’t have a better answer than that. The last week, I’ve had to literally scream in the face of two guys in practices and shootarounds to get the point across. And I will continue to do that. “If I have to start suspending guys for not doing things they’re supposed to be doing on the court, I’ll do it. And Mark and I will get into it about that. But somehow, things have got to change and it can’t just be about that it’s a tough schedule. It just can’t.” Yahoo! Sports

Admiral SnAckbar

December 31st, 2012
6:05 pm

welcome back Smoove. hope that hip is ok. wonder if the flying non Royce White will play tonite?
payback time.

Sameba

December 31st, 2012
6:06 pm

It would be better to have Zaza in the starting lineup. I think Horford will have a trouble in fighting with Asik for rebounds, like in the first game…

Admiral SnAckbar

December 31st, 2012
6:09 pm

I agree Sameba. Z shut down Hibbitts and deserves the start.

Rev in Tampa

December 31st, 2012
6:11 pm

Enter your comments here

doc

December 31st, 2012
6:14 pm

well, got to say congrats to my bees. was pretty down on them and their coach fearing a 7-9 season when they got into the acc championship game. they proved me wrong and beat usc today.

i cant stand the trojans. only trojan i like is a magnum.

texas is not the place to get a win for the hawks through the years. 19-10 is an awesome start unless they surprise and sneak in a win.

Admiral SnAckbar

December 31st, 2012
6:14 pm

not to mention the good nimbers Z put up against allstar Hibbitts.

LouWill83

December 31st, 2012
6:16 pm

SMOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111

Admiral SnAckbar

December 31st, 2012
6:18 pm

anyone else here think DWade is a dirty player?

MattP

December 31st, 2012
6:18 pm

Looks like Miami is having a hard time with Orlando. Could they lose another?

Slimjr

December 31st, 2012
6:28 pm

Sautee

December 31st, 2012
6:31 pm

Admiral SnAckbar.

Is it not a trap?

Admiral SnAckbar

December 31st, 2012
6:32 pm

Sautee. I hope not!
I hope it’s a trap for the Rocketts.

Sautee

December 31st, 2012
6:35 pm

Well, in a sense, we win regardless of the score. If the Rockets win, it helps them stay in playoff contention, so we can use that 1st rd. pick.

I rather get the win though.

Sautee

December 31st, 2012
6:36 pm

Make that “I’d” rather get the win.

keith

December 31st, 2012
6:42 pm

Admiral SnAckbar
December 31st, 2012
6:09 pm

I agree Sameba. Z shut down Hibbitts and deserves the start…

Zaza deserves to start tonight…..Josh should come off the Bench…The offense was “Smoove flowing”, no pun intended.., without All-star Josh Smith…

KevinM

December 31st, 2012
6:49 pm

Sautee, I want that Rockets pick as well…I hope they keep playing lights out.

Good comments AJ…but the players have the control, a la NJ. They just have to quit performing if they want to make changes.

EmirS.

December 31st, 2012
6:51 pm

Nikola Vucevic….

Admiral SnAckbar

December 31st, 2012
6:52 pm

funny how Smoove and AMo both got hip strains…..
wonder if it has to do with workout regimes?

Admiral SnAckbar

December 31st, 2012
6:57 pm

Z is a team player and will scrap no matter if he starts or comes off the bench.
Smoove hasn’t had to come off the bench much so don’t know how he would react.

W.R. Terrell

December 31st, 2012
6:57 pm

Bad biz with the return of the “SMOOVE”. I know, I know some folks feel he’s the franchise. The HAWKS tasted chemistry the other night but the “Smoove” will ruin that. Hopefully LD will pull him if he gets that stoopid thing going. ZaZa deserved the start with good play, hustle and effort for 4 quarters. If by some chance the “Smoove” does have an excellent game it is no more then “FOOLS GOLD”. Mark my words “STOOPID” has not left the building and that’s ashame.

Najeh Davenpoop

December 31st, 2012
6:59 pm

FTPB

““Rick Sund’s shining moment as GM of the Hawks. He traded two low first rounders (both complete non-factors in today’s NBA) for a guy who could start at either guard position and currently starts at point guard for a team in playoff position.””

LMAO what? Sund unnecessarily gave up a pick that could have been used on Kenneth Faried for a player who blocked Teague from assuming the starting point guard role he rightfully deserved for a full year. Faried is worth Kirk and at least one first round pick. That was a horrible trade.

Najeh Davenpoop

December 31st, 2012
7:01 pm

Kirk for Jordan Crawford straight up would have been a decent trade. Kirk for Jordan Crawford and a mid first rounder was straight up foolishness. “Rental” trades are only worth it if the rental puts you over the top to become a championship contender (a la Rasheed Wallace in 2004 for the Pistons). Otherwise, it is just a waste of assets. Kirk was a lot more like the Mark Teixeira trade for the Braves than the Rasheed Wallace trade for the Pistons.

KevinM

December 31st, 2012
7:06 pm

We are a team full of complementary players. Now all we need is a couple of disgruntled superstars who want to play for our head coach.

The only way that happens is the draft lottery. We can all see it, but some of us think we actually look like a contender.

Najeh Davenpoop

December 31st, 2012
7:08 pm

I’d like to see Zaza start today, if for no other reason than that he and Omer Asik can trash talk each other in Turkish.

Najeh Davenpoop

December 31st, 2012
7:09 pm

Bob Rathbun sounds like he has a pretty serious cold.

Rod from College Park

December 31st, 2012
7:09 pm

For those who keep posting that we played better without Josh for a game, based on your logic, Al should have never gotten his starting job back after last year.

Sameba

December 31st, 2012
7:10 pm

Najeh Davenpoop:

I’d like to see Zaza start today, if for no other reason than that he and Omer Asik can trash talk each other in Turkish.
—————————————————————————————————————-

Najeh, georgians have their own unique language… We do noty speak Turkish. In fact, if Zaza is not a washed up Georgian, he should give 200% fight against turks ;-)

doc

December 31st, 2012
7:11 pm

sheed trade was awful because we didnt even get a reasonable pick did we, much less young blood to work with. it also covered a mistake on bibby. there was something better out there than a three year deal for bibby.

High-sider

December 31st, 2012
7:11 pm

“Not sure how closely you follow the Lakers, but this was clearly a case of Jim Buss vindictively sticking it to Phil Jackson one last time. You have to understand the history of Phil disrespecting Jimmy and the power struggle between Jim and his sister Jeanie/Phil’s girl friend, who wanted to take GM responsibilities away from Jim.” – Buddy Grizzard @3:39am, 12/31/2012

I’m sure Jim Buss wanted to stick it to Phil (Jackson) since Phil was probably “sticking it” to Jim Buss’ sister, Jeanie Buss.

JaeEvolution

December 31st, 2012
7:12 pm

“Nikola Vucevic….”

Nik Vucevic currently has more rebounds solo than the entire Heat team, jeez.

High-sider

December 31st, 2012
7:13 pm

Can the Magic “upset” the Heat today/tonight?

Najeh Davenpoop

December 31st, 2012
7:13 pm

I know Zaza is Georgian but he speaks (and occasionally tweets) in Turkish too.

Najeh Davenpoop

December 31st, 2012
7:15 pm

“sheed trade was awful because we didnt even get a reasonable pick did we”

Hawks got the pick used on Josh in the Sheed trade.

Najeh Davenpoop

December 31st, 2012
7:16 pm

Great start for Al. Josh doesn’t look 100% though. Not getting his usual lift.

HawkFan

December 31st, 2012
7:18 pm

Nice start by Al

Ken Strickland

December 31st, 2012
7:19 pm

ASTRO JOE(FPB)-To answer your question, I would expect LDrew to learn from his mistakes and not repeat the same stupid mistake with Jenkins that he made with Teague. I would expect him to at least give the kid a chance to show what he can or can’t do.

I’d certainly expect Drew to play Jenkins early and give him an honest chance to show whether he’s ready, not use his rookie status as his reasoning for believing he’s not ready. I believe we’ve had enough of ignoring or cutting our draft picks in favor of filling the roster with minimum contract, over the hill vets. There’s no future in it.

HawkFan

December 31st, 2012
7:20 pm

Asik = Judge Reinhold

HawkFan

December 31st, 2012
7:22 pm

Korver. No conscience and that’s a good thing

Rod from College Park

December 31st, 2012
7:22 pm

Al being aggressive actually helps the offense.

Sameba

December 31st, 2012
7:22 pm

Josh is not playing well…

High-sider

December 31st, 2012
7:25 pm

Heat and Magic are going to OT.

Najeh Davenpoop

December 31st, 2012
7:26 pm

Nique just called him “Al Harden”.

Najeh Davenpoop

December 31st, 2012
7:27 pm

Jenkins sighting!

terrell

December 31st, 2012
7:28 pm

Zaza shouldnt dribble. EVER!

HawkFan

December 31st, 2012
7:28 pm

Let’s not forget that Jenkins still has a lot of guys on the team that do what he does. JJ had a nice game but so did Morrow last week and Korver has had many lately. Certainly his continued good showings make Morrow and Harris and potentially Stevenson expendable in a trade which is great. We’ll have to hope he keeps up the good work.

Get somebody on Harden, Teague is way overmatched.

Melvin

December 31st, 2012
7:28 pm

Just imagine if the Hawks would’ve had Harden on this team. He’s the true #1 option this team is missing…. He would make this year Hawks team Championship caliber…

Admiral SnAckbar

December 31st, 2012
7:30 pm

I’ll say that due to Smoove hip Coach prob wanted him to not stiffin up after warming up so he starts him even if he wanted Smoove to come off the bench, which I doubt he did.

Melvin

December 31st, 2012
7:31 pm

Dare I say, Lou has guarded Harden better than Stevenson in this 1st qtr…..

HawkFan

December 31st, 2012
7:32 pm

Nice pass JJ