The Atlanta Hawks suspended Josh Smith this morning for "conduct detrimental to the team," and the Hawks have had to change up their starting lineup for tonight's game against the Nets. Atlanta will start Jeff Teague, Devin Harris, Kyle Korver, Al Horford, and Zaza Pachulia. The Nets will counter with Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Keith Bogans, Reggie Evans, and Brook Lopez. Atlanta will have the services of DeShawn Stevenson whose knee was examined yesterday, but it was determined to be healthy enough to play by the Hawks training staff. Anthony Morrow will miss yet another game with a back injury, but appears close to a return as he put up shots for about 20 minutes before the game.
With Josh Smith suspended the offensive pressure will fall on Al Horford and Jeff Teague to step up and be aggressive. Teague will have the task of the bigger Williams guarding him, but if he uses his speed to his advantage could create problems for Deron. Al will face Reggie Evans who is one of the poorest defenders in the NBA and the Hawks could really attack that weakness if Al is able to knock down his mid-range jump shot.
Larry Drew would not discuss the Smith situation prior to the game but reiterated that Josh will be welcomed back to the team "with open arms." Drew was also complimentary of Joe Johnson in his return and noted that Joe has seemed to find his form in recent weeks and is scoring at a much better clip in the Nets recent stretch. Drew also said he didn't feel that there were any advantages to knowing Joe's game in scheming against him and that it would take a total team effort to defend him because of his great 1-on-1 capabilities.