Archive for the ‘Focal’ Category

Game thread: Medical clearance needed for Stevenson to play in back-to-backs

Vivlamore reporting.

As the Hawks take on the Celtics tonight, they will have swingman DeShawn Stevenson available. Coach Larry Drew did not use Stevenson against the Pistons last night in order to have his services tonight.

It will be a boost for the short-handed Hawks, who do not play Stevenson in back-to-back games due to the 13-year veteran’s ailing knees.

I asked Drew if Stevenson truly can’t play in back-to-back games. Friday night against the Pistons, the Hawks were without guards Devin Harris and Anthony Morrow. They couldn’t buy a basket early on from anyone other than Al Horford or Josh Smith. The Hawks went 15 minutes, a full quarter plus, before another player scored. With their early trouble shooting from the outside, certainly they could have used Stevenson and his long-range shooting.

It turns out, according to Drew, the team needs clearance from the medical staff to use Stevenson two straight games.

“We are really just taking real precautionary measures with …

Continue reading Game thread: Medical clearance needed for Stevenson to play in back-to-backs »

Atlanta Hawks: Pistons 85, Hawks 84 (updated)

Vivlamore reporting.

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — The Hawks almost stole one.

The Hawks nearly erased a 19-point deficit against the Pistons but came up a point short in an 85-84 loss Friday night at the Palace at Auburn Hills.

The Hawks went on an 18-2 fourth-quarter run to pull within one point, 83-82, with 3:13 remaining. Kyle Korver and Lou Williams hit 3-pointers to cap the run. The Pistons got a basket from Rodney Stuckey and the Hawks had a couple costly turnovers in the final minutes including one with 42.9 seconds remaining and still trailed by three points.

Al Horford then hit what was first ruled a 3-pointer with 5.6 seconds remaining that would have tied the game at 85-85. After a video review, the basket was changed to a 2-pointer.

It wasn’t over.

The Pistons turned the ball over as Jeff Teague intercepted a pass and the Hawks called timeout with 4.1 seconds remaining. The Pistons fouled Horford with 3.1 seconds left on the inbounds play and a Williams shot at the …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks: Pistons 85, Hawks 84 (updated) »

Game thread: Hawks wary of Pistons’ bench

Vivlamore reporting from Auburn Hills, Michigan.

The Hawks take on the Pistons tonight and will use the same starting lineup from the past six games of Jeff Teague, Lou Williams, Kyle Korver, Josh Smith and Al Horford.

In speaking with coach Larry Drew before the game, he is wary of the Pistons’ bench players. It was the Detroit reserves, you’ll remember, who combined to score 85 points, erase a 22-point deficit and force two overtimes on Dec. 26 in a Hawks’ 126-119 win.

Will Bynum scored a game-high 31 points off the bench for the Pistons.

“We have to be better against their bench,” Drew said. “That particular game, their bench just played well. I don’t think that has happened to us thus far this season but that game. Their bench played well, really shot the ball well. We have to be better defensively. We know what each guy is capable of doing. Defensively we have the game plan, the game strategy and we just have to be good when those guys come into the game.

“We have to …

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Atlanta Hawks: Rematch with Pistons awaits

Vivlamore reporting.

Short-handed or not, Lou Williams is staying in the Hawks’ starting lineup.

Coach Larry Drew, out of necessity, used Williams as the starting shooting guard on Dec. 22 against the Bulls. The Hawks are 5-1 since the move.

At the time, Drew said he would have used Devin Harris in the starting spot. However, the guard was out with a sore left foot – an issue that will cost him a ninth straight game Friday at the Pistons. The change has also meant the DeShawn Stevenson, often a starter at small forward with Kyle Korver at shooting guard, has remained a reserve.

Drew knows a good thing and he’s sticking with it.

“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,” Drew said. “Clearly, our last few games if there is an adjustment to be made it’s going to be on …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks: Rematch with Pistons awaits »

Atlanta Hawks: Drew sticking with Williams as starter

Vivlamore reporting.

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 …

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Atlanta Hawks: Drew named Coach of the Month

Hawks coach Larry Drew was named the NBA's Coach of the Month for December in the Eastern Conference after guiding his team to a 10-5 record. (AP Photo)

Hawks coach Larry Drew was named the NBA's Coach of the Month for December in the Eastern Conference after guiding his team to a 10-5 record. (AP Photo)

Vivlamore reporting.

Coach Larry Drew was named the Eastern Conference’s Coach of the Month for December, the NBA announced Wednesday.

The Hawks went 10-5 in December, tying the best record in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks had winning streaks of four, three and two games during the month. They also won two overtime games.

Other nominees from the East were the Heats’ Erik Spoelstra, the Pacers’ Frank Vogel and the Knicks’ Mike Woodson. The Clippers’ Vinny Del Negro was named the Western Conference’s Coach of the Month.

Drew said Hawks general manager Danny Ferry broke the news to him about the selection.

“I had no idea I was in the running,” Drew told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It’s always good to be recognized. I’m deeply honored to be selected. I share this honor with my entire coaching staff. They deserve …

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Atlanta Hawks: Drew looking for more minutes for Jenkins

Vivlamore reporting.

NEW ORLEANS — With the Hawks short-handed at the guard position, rookie John Jenkins has been pressed into action the past four games.

Not a problem.

Jenkins’ recent play prompted coach Larry Drew to pronounce following Tuesday’s win over the Hornets: “I’ve got to find some minutes for him.”

Jenkins, the first-round draft pick (No. 23 overall) out of Vanderbilt, has been used sparingly this season. However, with guards Devin Harris and Anthony Morrow injured Drew looked to the far end of his bench. Jenkins responded by averaging 9.3 points in 17 minutes. He shot 68.2 percent from the field (15 of 22), including 75 percent (6 of 8) from 3-point range.

“I was just trying to be a spark out there,” Jenkins said. “I know we are short-handed and somebody has to step up. I’m just trying to step up.”

Drew noted before the season that with the veteran guards on the Hawks’ roster it would probably take an injury for Jenkins to get extended …

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 95, Hornets 86 (updated)

Vivlamore reporting from New Orleans.

They Hawks were tired as they started their fourth game in five days. Coach Larry Drew admitted to such before Tuesday’s game against the Hornets.

They didn’t wake up until the second half. After sleep-walking through the first 24 minutes, with many defensive lapses, the Hawks erased an early double-digit deficit en route to a 95-86 victory over the Hornets Tuesday at the New Orleans Arena.

The Hawks outscored the Hornets 28-14 in the third quarter to turn around a six-point deficit. They led 72-64 going into the final quarter thanks to a 15-2 run early in the third that changed the momentum. Josh Smith had 10 points in the period to cap an impressive statistical effort of 23 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists, four blocks and three steals. With his 12th board, he reached the 5,000 rebound career milestone.

“We had a letdown in the first two quarters and I wanted to come out with the energy and effort,” Smith said. “It so …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 95, Hornets 86 (updated) »

Game thread: Drew concerned Hawks settling for 3-pointers in transition

Vivlamore reporting from New Orleans.

Hawks coach Larry Drew expressed concern with his team’s tendency to settle for 3-point attempts in transition Tuesday.

The good news: The Hawks set a franchise record in Monday’s loss to the Rockets with their fourth straight game of at least 10 3-pointers.

The bad news: Some of the 3-point attempts are coming on the run when Drew would like to see the action move to the front of the rim.

“In transition, we have to run for layups,” Drew said before the Hawks played at the Hornets. “We can’t just run to the 3-point line. We’ve gotten in trouble a little bit with that in the past where we do have an advantage in transition and we run straight to the 3-point line and not really attacking the basket.”

Drew said that was an issue Monday against the Rockets. The Hawks had 23 3-point attempts, making 12.

“We are still trying to find a consistency in that area. We show them tape. We talk about it. We always gravitate to that …

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Atlanta Hawks: Rockets 123, Hawks 104 (updated)

Vivlamore reporting from Houston.

James Harden killed the Hawks again.

The Rockets guard scored a game-high 28 points en route to a 123-104 victory over the Hawks Monday night at the Toyota Center. It was Harden, you’ll remember, who poured in 45 points in a Rockets victory in the Hawks’ season-opener. That’s two games and 73 points.

Harden had 11 third-quarter points as the Hawks tried to come back from a 21-point deficit. It was the 13th consecutive 20-plus point game for Harden, a career-best.

“Not quite the way I wanted to finish 2012,” coach Larry Drew said. “I have to give credit where credit is due. This team is very hard for us to match up against. The fact is that they do such a phenomenal job off the dribble. We have a hard time defending this team off the dribble. They have four guys the starting lineup that can all make 3s, are all good coming off the dribble.”

The Hawks (19-10) had their four-game win streak snapped.

Lou Williams led the Hawks with …

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