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 …

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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) »

Atlanta Hawks: Is Josh Smith an All-Star?

Hawks forward Josh Smith has never been named to an NBA All-Star team despite impressive career numbers. CURTIS COMPTON/ccompton@ajc.com

Hawks forward Josh Smith has never been named to an NBA All-Star team despite impressive career numbers. CURTIS COMPTON/ccompton@ajc.com

Vivlamore reporting.

Is Josh Smith an All-Star?

Despite all-around career statistics few in NBA history have reached, the Hawks forward has never been chosen for the All-Star Game. He has not been voted in by fans, selected by coaches nor named a replacement by the league.

Through his eight-plus year career, Smith is on the verge of becoming just the 24th player in NBA history to reach the milestones of 10,000 points, 5,000 rebounds, 2,000 assists and 1,000 blocks. The 23 players who reached those marks, including nine Hall of Famers, combined to appear in 184 All-Star Games. Only one, Mychal Thompson, never made an all-star appearance.

In Smith’s 624 career games, he has averaged 15.1 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.2 blocks and 1.3 steals. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the only player in league history with …

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Atlanta Hawks: Smith hosts children for holiday

Vivlamore reporting.

Josh Smith hosted 20 children from City of Refuge, a non-profit organization, Sunday for an afternoon of fun, food and gifts at Dave and Buster’s. The event was a surprise to the children who were picked up and taken to the restaurant to spend time with the Hawks forward.

According to the organization, City of Refuge is an organization “dedicated to community development efforts that lead to the stability and sustainability of the local community. Our community zip code is 30314. It is a community in crisis but also a community with hope and resilience. Despite overwhelming social challenges, numbers and need, City of Refuge finds hope everyday in this neighborhood. That is not only because we remain committed to our neighbors, but they are committed to us, offering themselves as both models of transformation and returning here to help others in need once their lives are restored to paths of health and independence.”

In other orders of business:

* I’m …

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Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 92, Bulls 75 (updated)

Video: Every Atlanta starter scored in double figures in the Hawks 92-75 win vs. the Bulls on Saturday night. Atlanta ended a two-game losing streak with the win. The AJC’s Chris Vivlamore reports.

Vivlamore reporting.

Lou Williams provided the energy the Hawks needed desperately.

Big time.

Williams was in the starting lineup and scored 14 first-half points as the Hawks dominated the Bulls 92-75 Saturday night at Philips Arena.

The Hawks led by as many as 26 points, a cushion built in early in the fourth quarter, en route to a win remarkably different than their previous four games. The Hawks had lost three of those four games, trailing by at least 17 points in each, including an 18-point Friday at the 76ers. The win came in overtime for the lowly Wizards.

It was a different story Saturday.

The Hawks (16-9) put on impressive effort, particularly in the second quarter, en route to the victory that snapped a two-game losing streak. The victory was the 100th of Larry Drew’s …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks: Hawks 92, Bulls 75 (updated) »

Game thread: Hawks to start Lou Williams, Harris out

Vivlamore reporting.

A little weary from a much-delayed flight from Philadelphia this morning. However, as the sign over the Hawks’ locker room door reads: ‘No Excuses.’

* Larry Drew talked about making a lineup change following Friday’s lopsided loss to the Sixers and the coach delivered Saturday. Against the Bulls, the Hawks will start Lou Williams at shooting guard. He will be joined in the starting lineup by Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, Josh Smith and Al Horford.

Drew said he would have started Devin Harris at the shooting guard. However, Harris will miss his third straight game with a sore left foot.

“(Getting early energy), that is number one,” Drew said of the lineup change. “Number two, I want to play faster. So we’ll go with a smaller guy in there. If I had Devin Harris it would have been Devin. I kind of want to play a little more up-tempo tonight. Hopefully, it won’t affect us too much from a matchup standpoint. If it does, we’ll just have to make …

Continue reading Game thread: Hawks to start Lou Williams, Harris out »

Atlanta Hawks: Sixers 99, Hawks 80 (updated)

Vivlamore reporting.

PHILADELPHIA — The Hawks are limping toward Christmas. And it’s a pronounced limp.

The Hawks lost for the third time in four games by dropping a 99-80 decision to the 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center Friday. In all three losses the Hawks have trailed by at least 17 points. The lone win in the stretch was an overtime victory over the three-win Wizards.

This loss has coach Larry Drew considering a change to his starting lineup.

“I’m very concerned,” Drew said. “I’m so concerned that I’ve got to think about the lineup now. That’s three out of four (losses) but I’m more concerned about our energy. That is what concerns me the most. I can take losing but if we don’t bring the energy, if we don’t bring the juice, that’s when I really have to look at things and I’m certainly going to do that. I may have to take a look at our lineup.”

It doesn’t get easier for the Hawks before some off time. The Hawks complete a stretch of four games …

Continue reading Atlanta Hawks: Sixers 99, Hawks 80 (updated) »

Game thread: Harris not with Hawks in Philadelphia

Vivlamore reporting.

PHILADELPHIA — The Hawks will be without guard Devin Harris for tonight’s game against the 76ers and likely tomorrow’s home game against the Bulls with a sore left foot. Harris did not travel with the team to Philadelphia.

The injury is unrelated to the turf toe that caused Harris to miss a game earlier this season.

An MRI showed no structural damage. Harris is wearing a walking boot as a precaution. Following Saturday’s game, the Hawks are off three days before hosting the Pistons which will allow Harris extended rest for his foot.

Officially, Harris is listed as day-to-day.

Guard Anthony Morrow said the sore back that caused him to miss two games is fine and he expects to play.

In other items:

* The Sixers are dealing with injury issues of their own. Leading scorer Jrue Holiday has missed the past four games with a sprained left foot. Second-leading scorer Evan Turner is suffering from a sprained left ankle. Both players told the Philadelphia media …

Continue reading Game thread: Harris not with Hawks in Philadelphia »