Archive for the ‘News’ Category

C-Viv on hiatus

Vivlamore reporting.

Sorry folks, but I will be off for another week as part of a vacation planned before I took the Hawks beat. This time, I won’t be able to check in during my break.

I will be celebrating the 50th wedding anniversary of my wonderful parents Clarence and Dianne, enjoying Thanksgiving and taking my daughter on her first college visit. I appreciate your understanding. I assure you this will be it for the season – time off at Christmas has been postponed until after the basketball season.

I’ll leave you in good hands. MC Cunningham will return to help as will Doug Roberson and the great Carroll Rogers.

I will post a feature story I have written on DeShawn Stevenson (teaser: he wears SpongeBob socks) that will appear in the Thanksgiving Day edition of the AJC.

Thanks again!

- Chris Vivlamore

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Three Hawks on All-Star ballot

Vivlamore reporting from Oakland.

Al Horford, Josh Smith and Jeff Teague are the Hawks representatives on the NBA All-Star ballot the league released Tuesday.

Horford and Smith are  36 front-court nominees in the Eastern Conference. Horford is a two-time All-Star as a center but the league changed the process this year to group all centers and forwards together. Teague is one of 24 nominees at guard in the East. In all, 120 players both both conferences are represented on the ballot.

Balloting will be held until Jan. 14. Fans can vote in a variety of ways on a daily basis, including social media sites. This year’s All-Star game will be held in Houston on Feb. 17.

- Chris  Vivlamore

LATEST NEWS

* Hawks 95, Trail Blazers 87

* Clippers 89, Hawks 76

* Hawks start four-game road trip against Clippers

* Ferry ‘fully engaged’ with Drew

* Heat 95, Hawks 89

*Drew declines comment on Brown firing

* Lessons to be learned in technical fouls

* Hawks89, Pacers 86

* Smith to play …

Continue reading Three Hawks on All-Star ballot »

Atlanta Hawks game thread: Smith, Williams ill and may not play vs. Blazers (updated)

UPDATE: I’m told that Josh Smith and Lou Williams will play tonight vs. Blazers.

Vivlamore reporting from Portland.

Josh Smith and Lou Williams are questionable for tonight’s game against the Trail Blazers. Each was sick Monday. While they participated in the team’s walk-through practice at the Rose Garden they were sent home early.

Coach Larry Drew said he will wait to see how each was doing later in the day before making a decision on their playing status. I will update you on their conditions prior to game time.

In other items:

* DeShawn Stevenson will play, and likely start, against the Blazers at small forward. Stevenson sat out Sunday’s game at the Clippers. Stevenson, a 13-year veteran, told me he did not play because of the back-to-back games situation.

Drew confirmed Monday that he does not want to overwork Stevenson and his aging knees.

“We are going to play it by ear but for the most part he won’t be playing back-to-backs,” Drew said. “One thing we really want to …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks game thread: Smith, Williams ill and may not play vs. Blazers (updated) »

Atlanta Hawks: Drew declines comment on Brown firing

Vivlamore reporting.

Hawks coach Larry Drew would not comment on the Lakers’ firing of Mike Brown just five games into the season.

“If you wouldn’t mind, I would rather not comment on that,” Drew said before the game.

Drew is in the final year of his contract. Hawks general manager Danny Ferry’s tenure with the Cavaliers ended when he resigned a month before his contract was to expire and two weeks after owner Dan Gilbert fired Brown at the end of the 2010 season. At the time, both Ferry and Gilbert called it a “mutual” parting. The main issue was reportedly Ferry’s disagreement with the release of Brown.

On the status of Drew, Ferry told the AJC last month: “We have had a productive and positive relationship so far and I respect his preparation and approach to camp and this season.”

- Chris Vivlamore

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Atlanta Hawks: Lesson to be learned in technical fouls

Vivlamore reporting before Hawks practice.

There was so much to write (and completely rewrite!)  about after last night’s dramatic win over the Pacers. I couldn’t get to the two technical fouls called against the Hawks. In speaking to coach Larry Drew and players after the game, those calls played a role in the outcome. Maybe, if a lesson is learned, they will have a part in other outcomes this season.

Here is what happened.

With 4:02 left in the third quarter, and the Hawks trailing by three points, Josh Smith was called for a technical for arguing with the referee. The call was made as Smith was leaving the court and being replaced by ZaZa Pachulia.

Exactly one minute later, Pachulia was called for technical foul while running up the court after he was stripped of a rebound.

The calls came in the middle of a Pacers’ run that increased their lead to 12 points heading into the final quarter.

I asked Drew what he told his players during a timeout with 5:45 remaining in the game …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks: Lesson to be learned in technical fouls »

Atlanta Hawks: Smith will play vs. Pacers (updated)

Vivlamore (updated) reporting from morning shoot-around.

As we told you first, Josh Smith will start tonight against the Pacers. The star forward missed Sunday’s win in Oklahoma City with a sprained right ankle.

Smith was a limited practice participant Tuesday and took part in today’s shoot-around with the projected starters.

Coach Larry Drew said Smith “moved around very well.”

Smith said he’s not 100 percent but is well enough to play.

“You know me, I can’t stay out for too long,” Smith said following shoot-around. “I’m going to see how it goes. It feels good right now. I want to be out there helping my teammates out.

“There is no concern. Obviously, it’s not 100 percent but you have to understand going through a month of training camp and the games, your body is not 100 percent at all. You just have to see how it feels. Right now I feel good and I’m ready to go.”

The rest of the lineup is not set, according to Drew, but it looks like the Hawks will go big with Jeff Teague …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks: Smith will play vs. Pacers (updated) »

Atlanta Hawks: Williams the go-to guy down the stretch

Vivlamore back from Oklahoma and reporting from Hawks practice.

Right now, the fourth quarter belongs to Lou Williams.

That could change. Hawks coach Larry Drew insists playing time down the stretch of games, particularly among the depth of guards, will be determined by who has the hot hand that night.

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

Williams has been the team’s go-to guy late in the first two games for the Hawks (1-1). He has played every fourth-quarter minute and scored 27 of his 41 points (66 percent) in the final stanzas. In those two periods he is a combined 7-for-17 from the field and 11-for-11 from the free-throw line.

“I just want to be in the rotation,” Williams said. “That’s my main thing. As long as I’m on the court, I just try to maximize the minutes I get and make everything happen that I can.”

He may not start, but Williams has certainly been on the court when …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks: Williams the go-to guy down the stretch »

Atlanta Hawks: Five questions with Al Horford as regular season begins

Vivlamore reporting prior to this morning’s shoot-around as the regular season opens against the Rockets.

Here is a Q and A I did with center Al Horford.

Q. How are you health-wise? Do you have any trepidation going into the season (coming off torn pectoral muscle)?

A. I feel good. One of the things I tried to do this summer was get my strength back to help the team. Physically, I feel good. I’m excited about the year.

Q. I know each player met with coach Drew to discuss their role on the team. What did he say would be your role this year?

A. With me, it’s very basic. I feel like I know my role here and it’s to come out and be a presence inside on defense, and on offense as well. Being able to rebound, set screens, know when to pass the ball, know when to shoot the ball. I’m just trying to win. That’s the way I play. Our discussion was about that. Just making sure that we know what he expects from us.

Q. This is a different team this year in that you are smaller at the 2 and 3 …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks: Five questions with Al Horford as regular season begins »

Atlanta Hawks practice report: Horford, Smith interim captains

Vivlamore reporting from Hawks practice.

A couple quick notes to pass on from today’s workout.

* Coach Larry Drew said he has yet to decide team captains and will take 7-10 days to think about it. In the meantime Al Horford and Josh Smith, both on the captains committee last season, will serve in the positions.

* Drew again declined to reveal his starting lineup for Friday’s season-opener against the Rockets. “I’m going to sleep on it tonight,” Drew said with a coy smile. “I will tell you tomorrow that I’ll be sleeping on it tonight.”

* Center Johan Petro (back) did not practice for the third straight day. He worked with the team’s training staff on the side. “He is getting better,” Drew said.

* Forward Mike Scott returned to practice after missing Tuesday’s workout with flu-like symptoms.

* Drew sat down with each player to discuss their role with the team this season. “I really wanted to wait until we got our roster down before I did that,” he said. “We had a good dialog.”

* …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks practice report: Horford, Smith interim captains »

NBA commissioner David Stern to step down

By Michael Cunningham

David Stern’s time as NBA commissioner will soon come to an end so it seemed an appropriate time for him to talk about his legacy as NBA commissioner.

But Stern, 70, said he’s not a big believer in the “‘L’ word.,” though he wasn’t modest about his resume.

“I just want people to say that he steered the good ship NBA through all kinds of interesting times, some choppy waters, some extraordinary opportunities and … on his watch, the league grew in popularity, became a global phenomenon, and the owners and the players and the fans did very well,” Stern said during a teleconference.

Stern informed the league’s owners Thursday that he will step down as commissioner on Feb. 1, 2014, 30 years after he was hired. The league has experienced several highs and lows on his watch but by nearly all measures is healthier than when he got the job.

The game has grown in popularity and global reach since Stern became commissioner on Feb. 1, 1984. Back then the league was …

Continue reading NBA commissioner David Stern to step down »