Teague, Horford still working on chemistry


NBA locals

A weekly look at locals players in the NBA:

Al-Farouq Aminu, Mavericks, Norcross High

* Dealing with knee injury in first season with Mavs after last three with Pelicans

Chris Bosh, Heat, Georgia Tech

* Eastern Conference Player of the Week after averaging 25.7 points and 11.3 rebounds

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Pistons, Georgia

* Averaging 12.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists in four starts

Jae Crowder, Mavericks, Villa Rica High

* Averaging 1.7 points in 7.3 minutes through first three games

Derrick Favors, Jazz, Georgia Tech

* Had a double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds in win over Cavaliers Wednesday

JJ Hickson, Nuggets, Wheeler High

* Has yet to appear through first four games

Dwight Howard, Rockets, Greater Atlanta Christian

* Averaging 17.2 points and 10.6 rebounds as Rockets win first five games

Jarrett Jack, Nets, Georgia Tech

* Averaging 7.8 points and 2.5 rebounds in first season with Nets

Jodie Meeks, Pistons, Norcross High

* Is sidelined with a stress reaction in his lower back

Anthony Morrow, Thunder, Georgia Tech

* Is sideline with an MCL sprain in his left knee

Glen Rice Jr., Wizards, Georgia Tech

* Was on the wrong end of a groin shot that got Knicks J.R. Smith suspended one game

Iman Shumpert, Knicks, Georgia Tech

* Averaging 13.2 points and 3.2 rebounds in five starts to begin season

Josh Smith, Pistons, McEachern High

* Averaging 14.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists through first four games

Taddeus Young, Timberwolves, Georgia Tech

* Part of three-team trade that sent Kevin Love to Cavaliers, averaging 15.8 points

Lou Williams, Raptors, South Gwinnett High

* Since offseason trade from Hawks, averaging 8.8 points in 19.2 minutes off bench

- Stats through Wednesday

The chemistry between Jeff Teague and Al Horford was unmistakable as they progressed in their careers with the Hawks. That development was paused when Horford was suffered a season-ending torn pectoral muscle in December, 29 games into the season.

With Horford’s return, the point guard-center combination is trying to pick up where they left off.

“We have to continue to keep playing,” Teague said. “During the preseason we didn’t play a lot together. It’s a long season, but more practice time and games we’ll get back to doing what we used to do.”

The pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop game between the two became a staple of the Hawks’ offense. However, under first-year coach Mike Budenholzer the offensive system changed, although the pick game is still an important aspect. Horford had his time to get comfortable in the new system cut short last season.

“We had played with each other for so long that I knew exactly where he was going to be,” Teague said. “We have to get used to playing again and where he wants to be on the floor. As he gets used to it, I’ll adjust to his game.”

Sefolosha adapting

Thabo Sefolosha is still learning.

The Hawks’ free-agent acquisition has been slow to catch on offensively through three games. Sefolosha has scored only seven points, five from the free-throw line. He is 1-for-9 from the field, including 0-for-3 from 3-point range.

That doesn’t mean he is not contributing.

Sefolosha has been a defensive presence. He has averaged 16 minutes through three games. He has totaled 11 rebounds, five assists, three steals and four blocks with just one turnover. Overall, he is a plus-9, which includes a plus-8 and a plus-6 in games against the Pacers and Spurs.

“It’s good,” Sefolosha said. “I’m here learning those guys and what they like to do and where I can find mine. I’m enjoying the process.”

Coach’s challenge comes to D-League

The NBA Development League announced several rule changes, including a coach’s challenge, that will take effect for the 2014-15 season.

The challenge rule allows a coach to initiate instant-replay review of a referees call for personal or shooting fouls (including offensive fouls) in addition to other plays that are instant-replay triggers. Offenses such as traveling, palming or act-of-shooting calls cannot be challenged. A coach must call an immediate timeout to challenge a call. Following the review the challenging team will keep its timeout if successful. If not, the timeout is lost. Teams will be granted one challenge during regulation and another in each overtime period. An additional challenge in regulation will be granted if the first challenge is successful.

Quotable

  • Dirk Nowitzki signed a three-year, $25 million contract to stay with the Mavericks this summer. That makes him the fourth-highest paid player on the team, behind Chandler Parsons, Tyson Chandler and Monta Ellis.

“I told him (Parsons) every dinner on the road this year is on him, because it’s my money anyway,” Nowitzki told reporters in Dallas.

  • Horford makes not secret of his allegience to his alma mater, Florida. He had plenty to say — before and after — about last week's college football rivalry game with Georgia.

“I called it publicly,” Horford said. “It feels good. The radio show, 92.9, I told them my Gators were going to win and everybody mocked me and made fun of me. It feels good. It feels good to prove people wrong.”

By the numbers

0 Assists by Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving in 45 minutes of a 102-100 loss to the Jazz on Wednesday night. Irving scored 34 points in the loss on 12-of-23 shooting.

37 Shot attempts my Lakers guard Kobe Bryant in 112-106 loss to the Suns on Tuesday. Bryant made 14 of the attempts on his way to 39 points.

19 Number of players from the University of Kentucky on NBA opening-night rosters. The Wildcats are followed by Duke (18), Kansas (17), North Carolina (16), UCLA (14) and Arizona and Florida (12).

Carroll’s corner

Weekly words of wisdom from DeMarre Carroll, the man who brought you this quote from last season: “If you see me in a fight with a bear, you better help that bear.”

When asked following the Hawks’ home-opening win over the Pacers about his improvement in rebounding, Carroll said: “Coach Bud got on me. He got on all the guards about our rebounding. I told him I was trying to be nice to the big men. He said, ‘No, you just need to get the rebound.’ I said ‘OK.’ I had to go tell all my big men I have to get back to eight or nine rebounds and there you go.”

HAWKS BLOCK PARTY

Six players ranked in the top 25 on the career blocks list in the NBA/ABA at one point in their careers played for the Hawks.

Player/Blocks/All-time Rank

Dikembe Mutombo/3,289/2

Tree Rollins/2,542/10

George Johnson/2,082/18

Theo Ratliff/1,968/21

Moses Malone/1,889/23

Elton Brand/1,795/25

Source: Hawks