Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 11/2/12
ATLANTA With so much roster turnover in the offseason the Atlanta Hawks remained something of a mystery right up until game time of their season opener on Friday. That's when head coach Larry Drew finally unveiled his starting lineup, which featured Devin Harris at the shooting guard and Kyle Korver at the small forward to go with returning starters Jeff Teague, Josh Smith and Al Horford. Relatively early in the opening quarter, Drew substituted DeShawn Stevenson for Korver with the intention of having Stevenson defend Houston's James Harden, who debuted with 37 points with the Rockets on Wednesday following a blockbuster trade a few days earlier. Yet after Harden lit up the Hawks for a career-high 45 in a 109-102 Rockets' victory at Philips Arena, Atlanta remains very much a work in progress in terms of how all of the pieces will fit together a sentiment that both Drew and players evoked on Friday. Among the biggest struggles for the Hawks was rebounding, as the Rockets (2-0) dominated them, 58 to 36. Much of the damage was done by Houston center Omer Asik, who failed to record a point but registered 19 rebounds, including nine offensive. In his opening remarks, Drew was very candid in what ailed the Hawks. "We have some things we really need to focus in and work on," he said. "There's just areas of this game where I thought we weren't very good, very polished, particularly on the boards. We didn't do a good job on the boards and it wasn't just our big guys. Our perimeters were not chasing down rebounds and, therefore, allowed them second opportunities." Horford finished with only five rebounds while giving up two inches to Asik. But the Hawks' four guards totaled only nine rebounds. Jeremy Lin had 10 alone for Houston and Harden added seven more. Toney Douglas and Carlos Delfino combined for four more for a Rockets' backcourt total of 21. "We got to help Josh and Al out," Stevenson said. "They're going to the boards and we got to get back on the defensive end and I don't think we did that good enough to help Josh and Al out." Drew also was unhappy about how the Hawks allowed easy baskets after they scored. Harden, who made 14-of-19 field goals, victimized them on long plays over the top in those cases a play that Drew had warned the team about before the game. "It's still a progress, it's still a progress," said Smith, one of six Hawks in double figures with 18 points and the only Hawk with double digits in rebounds (10). "We're still getting acclimated to other guys coming in and learning our defensive principles, just getting a feel for where they've got to be, where the spots they've got to be at. "Like I said, it's still a work in progress, we're a new team, we have new faces, so we have to focus in on what we're doing in practice and try to emulate it in games." As much as one game represents only a glimpse, one thing we might have learned is how Drew will employ his unusual trio of guards Teague, Harris and Lou Williams all of whom are similar in size and whose skills are somewhat similar. On Friday, Drew said he opted to ride the hot hand when it came to playing time. Rookies John Jenkins and Mike Scott did not play at all, nor did newcomer Anthony Morrow and hold-over Ivan Johnson, who has proven he can rebound. Korver finished with only 15 minutes and shot 0-for-3. Harris scored nine points in the first quarter and helped the Hawks to take an early 15-10 lead. But he did not score after the first quarter, missing his final five shots, and finished fourth among the four guards who played on Friday in minutes. From there, Drew rode Williams, who finished with a game-high 22 points and helped to rally the Hawks in an ultimately unsuccessful comeback bid. After yielding the lead, the Hawks trailed for the next 36:10 of the game until Smith's running lay-up gave them an 88-87 lead with 7:12 left in regulation. Even though the Hawks scored 58 points in the second half, they could not overcome the rebounding disadvantage and Harden's prolific scoring in the end. So as much mystery as there was entering the game, there's still a good bit left. "We're going to have to roll our sleeves up and just get better," Drew said. "It's not a situation of something we can't fix. It's just a matter of us making our minds up by pulling this thing together and seeing what we really are. We're still trying to establish an identity." The process continues with a daunting task on Sunday at Oklahoma City, the defending Western Conference champion.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: K-State players storm student section after big win

Tony Dungy coaches his way into Canton

Top eight takeaways from NFL Honors awards

Report: Austin Rivers out 4-6 weeks with broken hand

Brett Favre Hall of Fame discussion took less than 10 seconds

WATCH: Pop wishes Kobe well in heartfelt message


Eric Berry named NFL Comeback Player of the Year

Cam Newton to be named NFL MVP

Ezekiel Elliott hung out with Jim Brown

Rickie Fowler taunted by fans over his ex-girlfriend

Roger Goodell speaks about future of Pro Bowl in annual address

Mike Krzyzewski provides an update on his health

Another star confirmed for Super Bowl 50 halftime show

WATCH: Wayne Simmonds loses his cool, earns match penalty

Winners and losers from 2016 Hall of Fame vote

Brett Favre, Tony Dungy headline Hall of Fame Class of 2016

Terrell Owens says he was not elected to Hall of Fame

Bruins prospect hit in throat with puck, taken to hospital

WATCH: Mavs rookie laughed at for trash talking Spurs bench

Norris Cole has No. 30 retired with LeBron James, New Orleans Pelicans in attendance

Three keys to victory for the Broncos in Super Bowl 50

Torrey Smith: ‘This is probably the best offense’ for Kaepernick

Byron Scott thought D’Angelo Russell would be further along

Under-the-radar Super Bowl 50 matchups

Is Tim Lincecum's run with the San Francisco Giants done?

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.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker