Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 10/8/12
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.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Reasons why 76ers got so little for Nerlens Noel emerge

John Lynch: 49ers ‘absolutely’ need to improve at QB position

Report: Raptors trade Jared Sullinger, two future picks to Suns for P.J. Tucker

Report: Pacers halt trade talks, will keep Paul George

James Conner receives clean scan before NFL Combine

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Terry Francona admits health may impact how long he’ll manage

Brett Brown admits Ben Simmons could miss entire season

Cowboys and Cardinals will play in 2017 Hall of Fame Game

John Gillon’s winning shot helps Syracuse students in classroom

Vikings GM won’t commit to Adrian Peterson

Report: Ryan Tannehill’s knee healed, ready for OTAs

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Box Score 2/23: Gillon's buzzer-beater blast for the win

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

The top 10 MLB third basemen heading into spring training

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

Box Score 2/22: Not everyone is happy with the new intentional walk rule

Teams and players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

Nintendo is finally, thankfully embracing sports and eSports

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!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher who has recorded 10 or more shutouts in a single season

The top 10 MLB third basemen heading into spring training

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher to win the MVP award

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker