Archive for December, 2012

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 …

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 86, Magic 80 (updated)

Vivlamore reporting.

It was supposed to be easy. The Hawks made it look that way – at least for 45 minutes.

The Hawks used fast starts in the first and third quarters but had to hold on to defeat the Magic 86-80 Wednesday night at the Amway Center.

The Hawks (13-6) defeated the Magic for the eighth consecutive game, including both meetings this season. It was also the Hawks’ 10th win in 12 games, concluding a 2-1 road trip.

The Hawks built a 19-point third-quarter lead but had to withstand a Magic rally in the final three minutes of the game. Keeping big leads has been an issue for the Hawks this season and the problem reared its ugly head again.

“For our team, we are going to have to learn to develop a killer instinct when we get a team down,” Hawks coach Larry Drew said. “Right now, we don’t have it. We bobble too many balls. We miss too many fast-break opportunities. We have too many defensive breakdowns when we get leads. We allow teams to get back into games. It’s …

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Atlanta Hawks game thread: Morrow to start vs. Magic; Pachulia warned for flop (updated)

UPDATE: Anthony Morrow will start for the Hawks. He will be joined by Jeff Teague, Devin Harris, Josh Smith and Al Horford. Coach Larry Drew pressed with Kyle Korver coming back from injury and wanting to rest DeShawn Stevenson in order to play him Thursday against the Bobcats. Drew expects Korver to play about 20 minutes.

Pachulia on flop warning: “It’s a rule so you have to respect the game, respect the rules. Honestly, my first reaction because I saw the elbow coming was just to try to get out of the way because I was so close. I wasn’t trying to flop there but if you look at the film it’s obvious it looks like I was flopping. I was just trying to get out of the way. If the elbow came, I would rather take the $5,000 fine than a broken jaw.

Vivlamore reporting.

ORLANDO — Even with the returns of Kyle Korver and Mike Scott, the Hawks will be a little short-handed tonight against the Magic. DeShawn Stevenson likely will not play in the first game of a back-to-back schedule. …

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Smith on Smith: Steve says ‘travesty’ Josh never All-Star

Vivlamore reporting.

I’m working on a story on why Josh Smith has never been an All-Star despite his career numbers. I don’t want to jump the gun too much but I wanted to share what Steve Smith, the former Hawk (himself an All-Star with the team) and Hawks broadcaster, had to say on the subject when I spoke with him recently.

“I’ve spoke candidly about it, especially last year (when Josh wasn’t named a replacement for Joe Johnson),” Steve Smith said. “There is not another player like that. There are a lot of unique players, like a LeBron James. There are some guys in a class of their own. What he’s done, at power forward, basically with no backup. They have been thin for years trying to find some guys behind Josh and Al. I think Ivan Johnson, Jason Collins have filled in and done a wonderful job. Here is a player who plays at 6-8, undersized, leads the team in block shots. At times, leads them in rebounding. He guards his guy tremendously. He guards a guy who plays out on the …

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Video: Atlanta Hawks looking to sustain winning ways

The Atlanta Hawks have won 8 of their last 10 games. CineSport’s Justin Shackil & the AJC’s Chris Vivlamore discuss Atlanta’s success & how Kyle Korver’s return from injury will impact the team.

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Atlanta Hawks: Horford putting up All-Star numbers

Vivlamore reporting.

ORLANDO – Al Horford is back putting up numbers that made the Hawks center a two-time All-Star.

Horford has six straight double-double games in points and rebounds heading into Wednesday’s division game against the Magic. He has 11 double-doubles in the Hawks’ first 18 games this season. Among centers, only the Lakers’ Dwight Howard has more (12) in the NBA this season.

Horford missed most of last season after tearing his left pectoral muscle 11 games into the year. The injury cost him a chance for a third straight All-Star game. Although he returned for the playoffs, Horford was not 100 percent healthy. He spent the offseason getting back to form.

“I look at (the recent statistics),” Horford said. “I’m happy. I put in a lot of work in the offseason. This is just the fun part of it. In the offseason, nobody sees when you are in the gym, working late, getting in early and lifting to get back to where you need to be. It’s rewarding to see all that work is …

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Atlanta Hawks: Korver, Scott rejoin team

Vivlamore reporting en route to Orlando.

Kyle Korver and Mike Scott will join the Hawks in Orlando Tuesday.

Korver, who has been out with back spasms, has arrived and will practice with the team in preparation for Wednesday’s game against the Magic. No determination has been made on his status for the game. He has missed the past five games due to the back injury and the birth of his first child. He has not played since Nov. 28. Korver remained in Atlanta for therapy and workouts while the Hawks began the three-game road trips that ends Wednesday.

Scott, the rookie, was on his to Orlando from California where he played four games with the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA Development League. Scott played four games with the Jam, including his best outing Monday when he had 21 points and 10 rebounds in 31 minutes. He was 7 of 9 from the floor and made all seven free-throw attempts. In his four games, Scott averaged 13.3 points and 6.0 rebounds.

The Jam do not play again until Friday. …

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Atlanta Hawks: Heat 101, Hawks 92 (updated)

Vivlamore reporting from Miami.

The Hawks had a chance to overtake the first-place Heat.

They are still looking up at the defending NBA champions. LeBron James was the biggest reason.

James scored a game-high 27 points as the Heat defeated the Hawks 101-92 Monday night at American Airlines Arena. James set a Heat regular-season record with his 24th consecutive 20-point game.

The Heat (14-5) used a 14-2 third-quarter run to break open a close game en route to the victory over the Hawks (12-6) in a battle for the Southeast Division lead. The Heat, winners of both games against the Hawks this season, now hold a 1.5 game lead in the division. The Heat also prevented the Hawks from taking over second place in the Eastern Conference.

“We just didn’t play aggressively in the second half,” guard Jeff Teague said. “We let them dictate how we were going to play, starting with me. We were kind of timid. We really didn’t have any fast-break points. From them playing at home, where they …

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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 …

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Atlanta Hawks: Smith named Player of the Week

Vivlamore reporting from Miami.

Josh Smith was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played Dec. 3-9.

The Hawks won all three games in the week and during the stretch, Smith averaged 21.0 points, 12.0 rebounds and 2.o steals. Smith had a season-high 15 rebounds in last week’s victory over the Wizards at Philips Arena.

Smith joins Al Horford, who was named the Player of the Week November 19-25.

Here is a look at Smith’s week:

Dec. 5 vs. Denver: 16 points and 13 rebounds in win over Nuggets
Dec. 7 vs. Washington: 23 points, 15 rebounds, four assists and two steals in a win over Wizards
Dec. 8 @ Memphis: 24 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals in win over Grizzlies

The Clippers’ Blake Griffin was named the Western Conference Player of the Week.

- Chris Vivlamore

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