Archive for the ‘Focal’ Category

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 …

Continue reading Game thread: Smith back in Hawks lineup (updated) »

Atlanta Hawks: Williams wants to remain a starter

Guard Lou Williams signed with the Hawks as a free agent in July after seven seasons with the 76ers. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Guard Lou Williams signed with the Hawks as a free agent in July after seven seasons with the 76ers. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Vivlamore reporting.

The way Lou Williams has played since being inserted in the Hawks starting lineup would certainly make it difficult for them to send out a unit that doesn’t include the guard.

Williams would like to keep it that way.

Just consider the results. The Hawks have won the past four games since inserting Williams as the starting shooting guard. He has a combined 71 points (26 of 55 shooting, .473), including 12 3-pointers, 26 assists and 20 rebounds. A career-high 12 of those assists came in Saturday’s victory over the Pacers in which Williams recorded his first career points-assists double-double.

“I feel good about our offense,” Williams said. “I’m excited about the opportunity to start. Anything I can do to keep that position.”

Williams, who signed with the Hawks as a free agent this summer, spent much of …

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 109, Pacers 100 (updated)

Vivlamore reporting. Here is the updated game story from Saturday’s win over the Pacers. I got some really great stuff from Lou Williams on being in the starting lineup. Look for that story tomorrow.

There was no need for a 14-point fourth-quarter comeback this time.

The Hawks jumped out early and cruised to a 109-100 victory over the Pacers Saturday night at Philips Arena.

The Hawks had to erase a big deficit for a victory over the Pacers on Nov. 7. That was not the case on this night – thanks in large part to Zaza Pachulia. The center stepped in for the short-handed Hawks and delivered with a double-double of 17 points and 14 rebounds.

“I’m trying to do my best every game,” Pachulia said. “I’m a role player. I’m trying to do my duty. I’m trying to do the things the coaches expect from me and my teammates as well.”

The Hawks (19-9) played without leading scorer Josh Smith, Anthony Morrow and Devin Harris due to injury. Still, they led by as many as 18 …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 109, Pacers 100 (updated) »

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 …

Continue reading Game Thread: Smith out vs. Pacers (updated) »

Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 102, Cavaliers 94 (updated)

Vivlamore reporting from Cleveland.

As the Hawks prepared for the opening tipoff against the Cavaliers, Josh Smith pointed at Jeff Teague. It was a meaningful gesture as if to tell the point guard ‘It starts with you.’

Did it ever.

Teague scored a career-high 27 points, including 14 in the first half, as the Hawks rallied late for a 102-94 victory over the Cavaliers Friday night at Quicken Loans Arena.

The Hawks (18-9) scored the final points of the game, after trailing 94-93, to pull out their third straight win. They got a basket by Teague, a basket and two free throws from Al Horford and a 3-pointer from Kyle Korver to seal the hard-fought victory.

Smith and Teague revealed little about what is a pre-game ritual.

“He always says ‘C’mon, energy, effort,’” Teague said. “That’s our thing.”

Smith would not give details. However, he didn’t hesitate to state the importance of Teague.

“It’s something that we have going,” Smith said. “It’s between me …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 102, Cavaliers 94 (updated) »

Game thread: Drew, Smith talk after ‘poor shot selection’ late vs. Pistons (updated)

UPDATES: Ivan Johnson is definitely out tonight. He remained at the team hotel. … Hawks will start Jeff Teague, Lou Williams, Kyle Korver, Josh Smith and Al Horford. “In the last couple of games we’ve played in going with this lineup it’s been good for us,” coach Larry Drew said. “I think with both Teague and Williams in the lineup it gives us speed, it gives us the ability to play a little faster. … I think it’s important on the road to dictate the tempo of the game and when it’s time to run we have to get out and fly.” … Drew said there is a “probability” he will save DeShawn Stevenson for tomorrow night’s game against the Pacers.

Vivlamore reporting.

Hawks coach Larry Drew acknowledged Josh Smith’s late-game shooting issues against the Pistons Wednesday as “poor shot selection” and said the two have spoken and are ready to move on.

Despite finishing with 31 points, Smith combined to score only one point in the fourth quarter and both overtimes. He was …

Continue reading Game thread: Drew, Smith talk after ‘poor shot selection’ late vs. Pistons (updated) »

Atlanta Hawks: Johnson doubtful vs. Cavs

Vivlamore reporting from Cleveland.

Just a couple of quick notes from this morning’s shootaround.

* Forward Ivan Johnson is doubtful for tonight’s game against the Cavaliers due to a stomach illness. Johnson made the trip to Cleveland but was unable to go to the arena for this morning’s practice. Coach Larry Drew said he doubted Johnson could play but would wait until game-time to make a final determination. Drew said the Hawks could really use Johnson against the Cavs. The Hawks are already without guard Devin Harris (sore left foot) who did not travel with the team.

* While being short-handed, Drew said he has yet to determine a starting lineup. That would include whether to keep Lou Williams in the lineup, as he has been for the past two victories. The Cavaliers ability to dribble penetrate, especially with Kyrie Irving back, will play a major part in the decision.

* Drew is also undecided on what game in this back-to-back to play swingman DeShawn Stevenson. He said the …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks: Johnson doubtful vs. Cavs »

Atlanta Hawks: Drew makes it clear that Teague needs to play with energy (updated)

Vivlamore reporting.

Larry Drew didn’t like the way Jeff Teague was playing. So the Hawks coach let his point guard know about it.

During halftime of last week’s lopsided loss at the 76ers, Drew pulled Teague aside to hammer home the message that he needed more energy from the position. The following night, Teague set the tone early in a lopsided win over the Bulls. Next, Teague scored nine points in double overtime en route to a Hawks victory Wednesday over the Pistons that came after a blown 22-point fourth-quarter lead.

“When he’s not bringing the energy, it’s my job to let him know,” Drew said. “I told him he was not bringing energy. For whatever reason, it was not there and he needed to bring it. He didn’t have a good night that night but he came back the following night against Chicago and I thought he played much, much better.

“It all starts with him. … That point guard position is a very high energized position. I’ve made him aware of it and …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks: Drew makes it clear that Teague needs to play with energy (updated) »

Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 126, Pistons 119 2OT (updated)

Vivlamore reporting.

A 22-point fourth-quarter lead was not big enough.

The Hawks needed nine points in double overtime from Jeff Teague for a 126-119 victory over the Pistons Wednesday night at Philips Arena. The Hawks nearly gift-wrapped and gave away a game they dominated for three and a half quarters.

The Pistons erased the huge Hawks’ lead as the final comeback points coming on Austin Daye’s 3-pointer with four seconds remaining in regulation. Al Horford hit the first of two free throws to tie the score at 101-101 with 1.8 seconds left and force overtime.

The Pistons got five points from Will Bynum in the first overtime but the Hawks answered with a 3-pointer by Lou Williams and a basket by Horford.

“It wasn’t as much as what they were doing as what we were doing,” coach Larry Drew said. “We got a little complacent. We started playing the lead. We stopped executing. Defensively, as good as we were in the first half, we were just as bad in the second half. We …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 126, Pistons 119 2OT (updated) »

Game thread: Lou Williams stays in starting lineup (updated)

Vivlamore reporting.

Lou Williams remains in the starting lineup for a second straight game as the Hawks take on the Pistons tonight. Williams got the start at shooting guard in Saturday’s win over  the Bulls and coach Larry Drew elected to go with the hot hand.

“Being smaller, it has its advantages and disadvantages,” Drew said of a backcourt that features 6-foot-2 Jeff Teague and 6-1 Williams. “The way we feel we need to play we want to go a little smaller with the quickness. He had a really good game our last game. With he and Jeff in there it makes us a lot quicker, a lot faster and it puts us in a more up-tempo style. We had success with it our last game and we are going to go with it again.”

Drew was pushed in the direction to start Williams against the Bulls, his first in 173 games, with Devin Harris (sore left foot) unavailable and DeShawn Stevenson needing rest on the second of back-to-back games.

Drew said he spoke to Williams about his role with the Hawks after he …

Continue reading Game thread: Lou Williams stays in starting lineup (updated) »