The Hawks took to the practice floor for an extended session Wednesday as they prepare for their opener against the Rockets Friday night. Johan Petro (back) sat practice out once again and it appears that he is a lock to be one of the Hawks left off the 12-man game day active roster. The rest of the team participated fully in a full contact practice where the emphasis was on tightening up their defensive sets.
"[We were] brushing up on stuff that we're going to use as a staple all year, particularly defensively," said Larry Drew. "Defensively, we [went a little harder]. We did push it because we covered a lot with the defense as far as some of the schemes and techniques we will have. Offensively, the focus was pace."
Drew also met with players before practice to talk with them about their roles with the team and his expectations for them.
"I met with each player individually this morning to explain roles on the team. I really wanted to wait before we got our roster down before I did that," said Drew. "I met with each and every guy individually and had a good dialogue about what I expected from them and it went very well."
Anthony Tolliver and Jeff Teague talked briefly after practice and discussed a little of what coach told them about what he wants to see out of them, while not giving away anything about rotation.
"He told me to just be Jeff Teague. Same thing he told me last year, I'm just gonna go out there and play my game and do what he asks," said Teague. "He just told me to be me, I've been me for the last couple years and I'm gonna try and get better every year."
"He just told me to keep doing what I'm doing. Just continue to play defense, hit open shots, and play the game the right way," explained Tolliver.
As for Friday night, everyone is staying pretty tight lipped about the rotation, lineup, or their preparations for the Rockets. When asked about the starting lineup LD said with a wry smile, "you know what; I'm going to sleep on it tonight. I'm still trying to toss some things around and I'm not 100% sure."
I asked Teague about the Rockets and he answered, "We're focusing on us. They're going to be a good team. We know that. They've got James Harden and Jeremy Lin, great players, but we're focusing on the Hawks. If we go out and do what we know what we can do, we should get the win."
The Hawks cancelled Thursday's practice after a long session today and will have everyone fresh for shootaround Friday morning before 7:30 tip-off at Philips Arena.