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The Hawks had two days off after playing a back-to-back with Houston (loss) and New Orleans (win) so they returned to Atlanta to practice in preparation of yet another road-home back-to-back as they go to Detroit tomorrow and will come back to face Boston on Saturday.
The Hawks took to the practice court today but were missing a number of players due to injury. Al Horford sat out with a hip injury, but is not expected to have any problems playing. Devin Harris is out with the same foot injury that has kept him sidelined for the past couple weeks, but may travel with the team to Detroit although it is unlikely that he will play. Anthony Morrow (hip) and Johan Petro (stomach virus) both sat out and neither will travel with the team and their status for Saturday's game is uncertain.
Despite being short-handed, the Hawks went back and ran through some sets, added in some new wrinkles off of in-bounds plays (their specialty), and worked on things they did well (and tried to fix things they didn't do well) in their first meeting with the Pistons that went to double overtime.
After practice, Larry Drew addressed the allocation of minutes over this back-to-back stretch, and the lineups we can expect seeing, first, discussing Jenkins playing time.
"Well one thing that has worked out, I don't want to say in a good way or a bad way, we've been injured. Morrow's been out and we've been a little short-handed on the perimeter with Devin being out and it's opened up playing opportunities for [Jenkins] and he's made the most of it. He's really come in and opened my eyes. He's a guy that can make shots and, very similar to Kyle Korver, when he's out there you have to pay attention to him. The other thing about him is his athleticism is underestimated. I liked what I saw in New Orleans when he was matched up with Gordon."
As for the starting lineup, Drew says he will continue going with this group as long as they're hot, no matter who is available.
"I'm going to stay with what works. That's been working for us [The smaller lineup with Lou] and you know, a couple of games I thought about going back to the bigger lineup, but sometimes you gotta roll the dice a little bit and try to force the opposition to try to adjust to us. He's been good in our lineup and I'm going to keep it that way...Lou plays big, if you don't take advantage of him on the one end, you better be ready for him on the other end."
As for Zaza and Ivan, Drew said they could see more extended playing time due to the injuries, most importantly Al, on the front-line.
"Very possibly [Zaza could see more minutes], it just depends on how Al does. Al has been banged up, and Petro will not be on the trip, so there could potentially be more minutes for Zaza. I didn't play Ivan the last game, he'll certainly be playing some minutes in these next couple games."
Drew was asked about his Coach of the Month honors, and, jokingly, if he felt on the hot seat after what happened to the last coach of the month, Avery Johnson.
"No, I don't feel like I'm on the hot seat (laughs). I'm very honored to be chosen as Eastern Conference Coach of the Month. I'm just proud the guys were able to have the month they had, and hopefully we can have a better month this January."
The Hawks flew out at 3 PM to Detroit and they will be looking to get their second win over the Pistons this year, and hopefully this time they won't need two overtimes to do it.