The Hawks were taken down to the wire against the Wizards two weeks ago when they pulled out a 101-100 overtime victory on a Kyle Korver three with 1.4 seconds to play. Atlanta was dominated on the glass as the Wizards out-rebounded them 58-37, and 19-10 on the offensive end. After another poor rebounding effort a week ago against Cleveland, the Hawks had a lengthy tape session and came out fired up Wednesday against the Nuggets, who came in the top offensive rebounding team in the NBA. Atlanta was able to out-rebound the Nuggets 47-40 including 19-11 on the offensive glass. They will need to come out with that same focus and energy tonight if they want to jump-start another winning streak.
"Yeah I did [talk to them about rebounding]," said Larry Drew. "We went into that Denver game and I thought our guys were focused about what they had to do, on the glass particularly. As I told them through this shootaround, we have to bring this same mindset into tonight's game. I feel this Wizards team can be just as relentless on the glass, they've got some big guys, and they really do a good job on the glass. We're going to have to be real good tonight with our box outs and chasing down loose balls."
"Just carry the same mental aspects we had against Denver," said Josh Smith. "[The coaching staff] got us mentally prepared for the offensive rebounding of the Nuggets, and we have to have a carry over effect cause [the Wizards] are a big team too, and we have to make a conscious effort of team rebounding."
"We need to be consistent with the energy level that we bring tonight, and we have to do a good job as a team keeping them off the boards," said Al Horford. "We just have to be on point on rotations tonight, and really communicate well because those guys can get hot."
As for the lineup for tonight, the only sure thing is that Kyle Korver will be out as he continues to battle back spasms (and catch up on sleep after his wife just had their first child). Korver continues to get treatment for the back and has been around practice, but not actually participating, instead getting stretched out, applying heat pads, and spending a lot of time in the cold tub. The starting lineup is up in the air, as Drew is waiting to find out how the Wizards will set their lineup, particularly at the small forward spot with Trevor Ariza out with an injury.
"As of now, I don't know. I kinda want to see what they're going to do with Ariza out. Not sure if they're going to go smaller at the three or with a bigger lineup."
The Hawks have used a number of different lineups this season, and tonight it seems like two lineups are likely. Either a small lineup like we started Wednesday with Teague, Harris, Stevenson, Smith, and Horford, or a big lineup with Teague, Harris (possibly DeShawn, likely Devin), Smith, Horford, and Pachulia. Both offer matchup issues on both sides of the ball, but the big lineup has been extremely effective early this season, especially when we get Josh Smith in the post against smaller threes (see: George, Paul).