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- Anthony Tolliver will make his third start of the season Friday, as Hawks coach Larry Drew will open with the same lineup that Atlanta used Friday in beating the Grizzlies — Atlanta’s 16th different starting amalgamation. Tolliver will again start at small forward as Kyle Korver will slide into the shooting guard spot again, and it’s not Tolliver’s offense that is earning him his the nod. Drew commented before the Memphis game that he and his staff have liked Tolliver’s defense since training camp, and that didn’t change as he helped hold Tayshaun Prince to six points on Wednesday. Drew values Tolliver’s sense of where to be as much as his length. The 6-foot-8 forward will work against the Hornets’ Al-Farouq Aminu (6-9), a tough cover for Korver.
- Speaking of Korver, if he hits a 3-pointer Friday night he will set a franchise record for consecutive games making at least one. He and former Atlanta guard Mookie Blaylock (1996-’97) are deadlocked with the mark at 42 straight games. Korver leads the NBA in 3-point shooting (46.4 percent) and went 4-for-7 from afar in the Hawks’ 95-86 win in New Orleans on New Years day.
- Hornets coach Monty Williams is concerned with several Atlanta shooters from afar as the Hawks recently set a franchise record by making at least 10 treys in five straight games. Williams said the modern NBA is different from when he played from 1994-2003 for five teams in that it’s largely about hitting 3-pointers in transition. “When I played, if you ran to the 3-point line, you’d get pulled,” Williams said. The New Orleans coach continued by saying, “all these [metrics] show that it’s a good shot . . . I think they’re smoking something. In the playoffs, you don’t see that. You see teams walking it up.”
- Devin Harris, who has started most frequently in the shooting guard spot for Atlanta when healthy, is available for the second game in a row after missing two, and will come off the bench. He’s been troubled intermittently by a sore foot.
- Zaza Pachulia will play off the bench for Atlanta after missing four straight games with a sore right Achilles’ tendon. The reserve center missed five of the previous seven games for the same reason.
- DeShawn Stevenson’s right knee continues to bother him. He will not play for Atlanta.
- Hawks guard Lou Williams, who suffered a season-ending tear of his right anterior cruciate knee ligament on Jan. 18, had surgery Thursday. Dr. James Andrews performed the operation in Gulf Breeze, Fla. Williams is expected to need six to nine months of rehabilitation.
- Williams is also concerned with Friday’s matchup at center. Before the game, he was complimentary of Hawks center Al Horford’s ability, “to hit a shot, run the break . . . [Hornets center] Robin [Lopez] is not used to defending a guy who can play like a guard.”
- TNT’s David Aldridge is reporting that Hawks officials have met with Josh Smith (or his representative) only to make no progress on a possible new contract. With Smith’s deal expiring after this season, he has said he believes that he’s worthy of a max contract. The Hawks have disagreed, and Aldridge reports that Atlanta officials are entertaining trade offers without actively seeking a deal.
– Matt Winkeljohn