With Joe Johnson out with a sprained right thumb, Hawks coach Larry Drew wants to keep everything else as familiar as he can.
Drew started Jason Collins at center, Josh Smith and Al Horford at forwards, and Marvin Williams and Kirk Hinrich at guards. It's the team's 15th different lineup this season. It's similar to one Drew used for four games when Johnson was out in December after elbow surgery, with Hinrich taking the place of former Hawk Mike Bibby.
Drew said he gave some thought to starting Jeff Teague at guard, but "I think with our rotation, I want to keep it as close to normal as possible." When the coach has started Teague, Johnson played alongside him.
Drew did not have a timetable on Sunday for the return of Johnson, who did not accompany the team after spraining his thumb in Saturday night's win over New Jersey. Drew would like him back quickly. The Hawks' chances of securing the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference got a boost when Philadelphia lost earlier Sunday at home to Sacramento to fall four games behind the Hawks with nine to play before the Cleveland game. Drew, though, is not counting on anything.
"I've looked at our schedule; I've looked at their schedule," he said. "Nothing is a lock."
To keep the No. 5 seed, the Hawks will likely have to finish in a tie with the 76ers.
Without Johnson, Drew still wants familiarity
Atlanta Journal-Constitution | Mar 28