Sorry for the delay folks. I’m working on a couple of things. Here is today’s practice report.
Devin Harris (sore left foot), Anthony Morrow (right hip strain) and Johan Petro (stomach illness) will not travel with the team for Friday night’s game in Detroit. Look for coach Larry Drew to keep the same starting lineup with Lou Williams at shooting guard along with Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, Josh Smith and Al Horford. Horford did not practice Thursday due to the right hip contusion that has been bothering him. He will travel with the team and expects to play.
When Drew first put Williams in the starting lineup against Chicago on Dec. 22, he did so because the Hawks were shorthanded with the injury to Harris. At the time he said he would have started Harris against the Bulls if he were available. I asked Drew if he has changed his mind due to the Hawks’ 6-1 record with Williams in the lineup.
“I’m going to stay with what works,” Drew said. “That’s been good for us. A couple of games I’ve thought about going back to a bigger lineup but sometimes, as I’ve said in the past, you’ve got to roll the dice a little bit – whether you adjust to the opposition or you force the opposition to adjust to you. Clearly, our last few games if there is an adjustment to be made it’s going to be on their end. I’m going to stay with what’s been working for us. He’s been good in our lineup and I’m going to keep it that way.”
* The Hawks face the Pistons Friday, the team they defeated in double-overtime on Dec. 26 after blowing a 22-point lead. Here is what Drew said about the matchup.
“Their matchups are always tough for us because they are big and they are physical,” Drew said. “One thing that has happened, that I’ve noticed, with their club is their bench guys have really been playing well, particularly (Will) Bynum. He has come off the bench and he had the big monster game against us. He has really been good for them off the bench.
“It seems like they are playing with a new sense of pride. They are a team that can hurt you in a number of ways, with their size, with their speed particularly their guards. (Rodney) Stuckey has always been a tough matchup for us because he has size and he’s strong and we don’t have a clear matchup against him. We try to combat that in different ways just to keep his numbers down.”
Bynum scored 31 points in the December meeting as the Pistons bench combined for 85 points.
* The third returns from fan voting for the NBA All-Star game were released Thursday and Josh Smith remains eighth among Eastern Conference front-court players. The forward has received 131,508 votes, placing him behind Joakim Noah (158,743) and ahead of Anderson Varejao (116,166).
* I had a really good interview with Kyle Korver after practice about the fact that he is 48th in the NBA in plus/minus rating, a surprise to those who don’t consider him a good defender. Look for that story on Sunday (online)/Monday (print).
- Chris Vivlamore
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