Originally written October 08, 2012 on Fox Sports South:
Lebron-james-part-time
By JAMES CARR@jamescarr89 For all the Atlanta Hawks reshuffling, and the excitement the likelihood of a younger, up-tempo offense that came with it, the question mark surrounding the team is on the defensive side of the ball. During the first quarter of their preseason opener against the Miami Heat, that question got bigger as LeBron James scored eight relatively unchecked points in the first quarter, including three dunks in three minutes. But while the Big Four now including Ray Allen of the Heat each played less than 30 minutes on the night, including Dwyane Wade who did not play at all, the Hawks managed to slow things down and enter a rhythm as they beat the Heat 92-79. Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra noticed the edge defensively. Theyre coached well, thats easy to see. Larry Drew does an excellent job getting this team to defend. The Hawks noticed a difference, too. We were a little rusty early on, said forward Josh Smith following his 21-point performance. After the first quarter, we tightened it up on the defensive end, got some stops, pushed the ball pretty good. It was the kind of game Hawks fans have desired following a very isolation-heavy offense that ran through Joe Johnson for the last seven seasons. The Hawks needed a complete team effort to manufacture points and slow down the potent Heat transition game, which will only improve with more time on the court. A lot of it is just implementing our whole system and being comfortable with it and not having to think about it but its your natural reaction, Kyle Korver said. Are we forcing high? Are we forcing low? What is our coverage going to be? Im speaking for myself, Im still thinking. That just takes reps. This is a different system. We have a lot of new guys, getting used to a lot of new faces. Its just going to take some time. As the team gels, theyll do less thinking and more playing, which should result in more fluid play. We want to get the guys some confidence to play defense by themselves, try to figure out what plays will work for us instead of always having to look for guidance, Smith said. We need to play in the flow and not always have to look to Drew when we are in a half-court set. With Devin Harris out with a knee injury, Jeff Teague saw most of the minutes at point guard, splitting time with newcomer Lou Williams. Drew described Teagues play on the defensive end as excellent. And while it was nice for the Hawks to get a win in their first game together, the Hawks defense may have to remain excellent to duplicate their playoff accomplishments under the old guard.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Giants shut out Pirates, advance to NLDS

Cowboys' Spillman accused of rape at team hotel

Report: Patriots benched WR for mouthing off to coach

Jose Bautista busts up reporter over Twitter

Sammy Watkins calls out EJ Manuel

Larry Donnell benches himself in fantasy, loses because of it

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Josh Gordon says NFL’s drug policy is harrassment

Steve Smith: Ron Rivera hid in his office after cutting me

Rondo hoping for an opening night return from broken hand

Jon Gruden on Raiders job: 'I'm not thinking about coaching'

Tom Brady defends not congratulating Garoppolo on TD

Ohio State student who ran on field loses full scholarship

ESPN reporter announces she has breast cancer

Byron Scott explains why Kobe wouldn't make a good coach

Hibbert texts Duncan for advice on being like Spurs

Belichick repeats moving 'on to Cincinnati' during presser

Donald Sterling’s wife called the cops on V. Stiviano

WATCH: Mayweather shocked someone doesn’t know who he is

Who is the new face of MLB?

NHL 15 predicts the LA Kings win the Cup again

J.J. Watt buys his mom a new car for her birthday

Ranking the NFL coaches already sitting on the hot seat

WATCH: Smith tells Panthers to go home and mow his lawn

The best games on the NFL slate in Week 5

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Cowboys player accused of rape

Scott: Kobe would not be a good coach

Pats WR benched for mouthing off?

Sammy Watkins calls out EJ Manuel

Donnell benches himself in fantasy and loses

Gordon: Drug policy is harrassment

Who is the new face of baseball?

Steve Smith blasts Panthers coach, GM

What will the A’s look like in 2015?

All-Disappointment Team in MLB

Ryan Lochte: Phelps made dumb decision

WATCH: Brett Favre in new commercial

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.