Exhibition game: Hawks finally get to play against someone else

Dwight Howard during the Atlanta Hawks' training camp at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Georgia on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016. (Photo by Cory A. Cole)

Dwight Howard during the Atlanta Hawks’ training camp at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Georgia on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016. (Photo by Cory A. Cole)

The Hawks open the preseason tonight with an exhibition game at Memphis.

No TV. No radio. No Vivlamore.

I will be attending to some family time this weekend before the start of the NBA grind. I will also miss Saturday’s game at the Spurs. There will be coverage of that game on 92.9 FM. The Hawks open the home portion of their preseason schedule against the Cavaliers on Monday.

The Hawks haven’t been in training camp long before the start of the exhibition season. However, most of the players have been in Atlanta since the beginning of September for voluntary workouts and open gym. I have covered many NFL training camps and the players were always eager for the first exhibition so they could hit someone other than teammates. I wondered if that was true for the Hawks (no hitting of course but plenty of scrimmages against the same players over and over).

Here’s what a few said.

Dwight Howard: “Yes. I think we have a very competitive group and we love to test what we work on every day against some different opponents. I think it will be fun.”

Kent Bazemore: “Normally, you would feel that way. But playing against each other, we’ve gotten so much better. Everyone is competitive as heck. This is one of the most competitive teams. I’ve only been around for five seasons but it’s one of the most competitive teams I’ve been on. They know they plays were are trying to run. We know each other’s games. It’s a lot tougher. With the length with have with Edy (Tavares) and Dwight (Howard) at the rim, it’s been so tough to get to the rim and finish. I’m curious to see how that translates playing against other teams. With the physicality we’ve been showing in practice, can we defend without fouling and keep teams off the free-throw line and rely on our defensive principles to take us over the hump. We’ll come out super energetic but can we play under control? I think that’s been our biggest issue, staying under control and executing – setting up a guy to come out of a screen or waiting for a screen out of the corner.”

Mike Budennolzer: “It’s interesting. I would say this group has hit each other a lot and they are competitive but it doesn’t, maybe to them it does, it doesn’t feel to me they are at that phase where they are tired of doing this. It’s a compliment to them. It’s natural. It happens in football, it happens in basketball. But I think it’s going to be great to play another team, get a good run and then get into a little bit of a rhythm with some more preseason games.”


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