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Hawks to pay GA 400 tolls Wednesday

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A Hawks cheerleader pays tolls for drivers on Ga. 400 on Wednesday morning. (Photo by John Spink, jspink@ajc.com)

The Hawks will be sponsoring both the Northbound and Southbound tolls on GA 400 on Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.

All 50 cent, cashier and Cruise Card/Peach Pass lanes’ tolls will be paid for by the Hawks during the two-hour span. In addition to the paid toll sponsorship, Harry the Hawk and the Hawks Cheerleaders will be at the tolls handing out magnet game schedules, Hawks branded air fresheners and $50 Hawks Cards good towards the purchase of tickets to Hawks home games in November and December.

“Our hometown fans were introduced to a team with a lot of new faces this preseason, and now the Atlanta Hawks are ready to get the 2012-13 season underway,” Bob Williams, Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena President, said in a statement. “As an expression of our gratitude to the Metro Atlanta area and our fans for their support, we will pay all tolls during the …

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Atlanta Hawks: Injury update, Petro frustrated

Vivlamore reporting before Hawks practice this afternoon.

Here are a couple of items and updates left over from Sunday.

* On the injury front, Jeff Teague (sprained left ankle), Zaza Pachulia (sprained left ankle), John Jenkins (left hand contusion) were held out of the open practice. Al Horford (right calf) was limited. We’ll check on them today.

Horford said he experienced tightness behind his right knee prior to Saturday’s exhibition game against the Mavericks. When it didn’t loosen up, he came out of the game for precautionary reasons for treatment. He said he is confident that he will return to full-contact practice today or Tuesday and play in Friday’s exhibition season finale in Detroit.

“I don’t want any little thing holding me back for the regular season,” Horford said.

Pachulia’s sprained ankle is also progressing. He said when he first was injured last week against the Hornets he feared it was very bad. However, he was able to continue. Overnight the …

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Atlanta Hawks game thread: Teague out vs. Mavs

Vivlamore reporting from Philips Arena.

A couple of news items before tonight’s exhibition against the Mavs.

* Jeff Teague (sprained left ankle), Zaza Pachulia (sprained left ankle) and John Jenkins (left hand contusion) will not play tonight. Coach Larry Drew said he did not have a timetable for Teague’s return, calling the point guard day-to-day. Teague said he thought he might be out “a couple of days.” Teague and Pachulia were injured against the Hornets on Thursday. Pachulia returned to the game

“We’ll keep him out for precautionary reasons,” Drew said of Pachulia. “No need to rush him back. There are some other guys I want to get a look at.”

With only one exhibition game remaining following Saturday night, Drew hopes to get a regular lineup in place. However, a lot of that may depend on injuries.

“I really, really hope so but that will depend on how well the guys who are injured come along,” Drew said of putting that lineup together. “Hopefully we …

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks vs. Hornets exhibition game thread

Vivlamore reporting from Philips Arena.

An hour before Thursday’s exhibition game against the Hornets and coach Larry Drew said he had yet to make up his mind about the starting lineup.

“I’m not 100 percent sure yet, as far as my starting lineup,” Drew said. “I’m kind of teetering with a couple things. It could certainly change. I’m looking at different combination of guys on the floor. We are still in the evaluating process in this preseason. There are still some guys I am looking at very closely.”

I can tell you that the early lineup was Jeff Teague, Devin Harris, DeShawn Stevenson, Josh Smith and Al Horford. We’ll see what happens.

Drew would also not indicate if any of the 16 players currently on the roster would be held out. With a maximum of one roster spot still available, the coach said he is still evaluating and waiting for a player to step forward.

“I’m still not 100 percent sure if some of these guys are going to get playing time tonight,” …

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Atlanta Hawks practice report: Time for regular rotation to take shape (updated)

Updates with Carldell Johnson being waived.

Vivlamore reporting from Hawks practice.

Coach Larry Drew and the players I spoke to are not overly concerned with a 1-3 start to the preseason, including losses in the past three games. Exhibition games are about getting a look at different combinations of players in different situations.

“No, there are no issues there,” Drew said when I asked if he was concerned about the three losses. “Going into the preseason my main objective was to put a lot of different combinations on the floor to see what I have. When you have that many new faces in a training camp, there is a lot of learning, there is a lot of teaching, that has to be done.

“Therefore, the games are going to have to be used as learning experiences for us. Basically, going into these preseason games, I knew that’s what I had to use them for. As I said, as we move further down the road we’ll start putting together a more realistic combination of players out on the …

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Atlanta Hawks: Third straight preseason loss has record at 1-3

Vivlamore reporting.

Just a quick blog with some notes about last night’s 102-98 preseason loss to the Pacers before I head to practice this afternoon.

* As I reported Monday, Devin Harris did make his preseason debut against Indiana. The guard was in the starting lineup and scored 11 points with five rebounds and two assists in 23 minutes.

* The rest of the starting lineup was Kyle Korver, Anthony Tolliver, Zaza Pachulia and Jeff Teague.

* Josh Smith and Al Horford were inactive. Both played in Memphis on the first leg of the trip. Carldell Johnson, Johan Petro and DeShawn Stevenson (knee) did not play as coaches decisions.

* The Hawks were held to 38.7 percent from the field (36 of 93). Lou Williams (18 points),Tolliver (14), Korver (13),  Ivan Johnson (12), Harris (11) and Teague (11) were all double-digit scorers.

* The Pacers shot 44.6 percent from the field (33 of 74), making three less field goals in 19 fewer shots than the Hawks.

* The Hawks have allowed more than 100 …

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Atlanta Hawks: Harris could make debut Tuesday

Vivlamore reporting.

Sorry folks. Took  Sunday off since I didn’t travel to Memphis for the 110-102 exhibition loss to the Grizzlies. With no practice today, team went straight to Indiana for tomorrow night’s game against the Pacers, I spent most of my day getting a new company-issued laptop. (Let’s see if this one writes better stories!)

Devin Harris is traveling with the team. Although he did not play in the loss to the Grizzlies, I’m told there is a good chance he could play Tuesday as he has been battling knee issues. I will have a bigger story on Harris tomorrow.

In other notes from the game:

* Damion James was in the starting lineup for the second straight game. It’s obvious that Larry Drew and his staff are taking a long look at him for one of the available spots.

* Zaza Pachulia made his debut after suffering with a groin injury. He started and had nine points and nine rebounds in 22 minutes.

* Other starters were Ivan Johnson, Kyle Korver and Jeff Teague.

* The …

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Atlanta Hawks practice report: More defense, tweets

Vivlamore reporting from Hawks practice.

The Hawks spent the majority of Saturday’s practice working on defense as coach Larry Drew and staff seek to correct the mistakes made in the exhibition loss to San Antonio Wednesday.

“We’ve got a lot of things that we need to put in but there were a lot of things that we didn’t do a good job of in San Antonio,” Drew said. “These last couple days we spent a lot of time watching film and coming out on the court and working on it. I want it to have a carry-over effect in our next game.”

Drew said he wants to be satisfied that the defensive concepts and philosophies already installed have taken grasp before moving on to new ones.

*The Hawks leave for Memphis Saturday afternoon for Sunday’s 6 p.m. game against the Grizzlies. (I will not be attending).

* Drew said he has yet to decide the starting lineup for the game, but expects it to be different than the ones used against the Heat and Spurs.

* Drew, unsolicited, praised …

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Atlanta Hawks practice report: Defense, cuts and tweets

Vivlamore reporting from Hawks practice.

Upon returning to practice after Wednesday’s 101-99 exhibition loss at San Antonio, it’s clear the team is still working out defensive issues.

“We spent 90 percent of our practice just going over some defensive situations that we didn’t do a good job with in San Antonio,” coach Larry Drew following Friday’s practice. “We watched film this morning and made some corrections. We want the focus on getting back to what we’ve done the first week of training camp as far as transition defense, our pick-and-roll coverages, our play in the post, our weak-side help. All those things we want to get back to and get the guys’ minds trained to do it one way. Clearly, particularly that first half, we didn’t do a good job with that.”

The Spurs, playing without Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, shot 51.9 percent from the field in the victory.

“It was the most glaring issue I had,” Drew said of the defensive issues. “I …

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Atlanta Hawks: Benson, Muhammad released

Vivlamore reporting.

The Hawks released forward/center Keith Benson and guard Isma’il Muhammad Thursday, trimming their training camp roster to 17 players.

Benson (6-foot-11, 230 pounds) was a second-round draft pick of the Hawks (48th overall) in 2011. After being waived by the Hawks, he signed a 10-day contract with the Warriors and appeared in three games. He also appeared in 20 games with Sioux Falls of the NBA Development League, where he averaged 15.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.

Benson had 10 points and two rebounds playing 10 minutes of Wednesday’s exhibition against the Spurs.

“I’ve been a lot more aggressive,” Benson told the AJC early in training camp. “I’ve worked on my overall game, my shooting, my defense. I think I’m stronger and am an improved player from last year.

“I came in for some workouts and they were impressed with my workouts. They liked what I did in summer league. I’m just trying to build on that.”

Muhammad (6-6, 228) played at W.D. …

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