New York rookie guard Toney Douglas returned home Friday. He was rather glad to be back on familiar ground. "I came back here, I was, like, 'Dang, in New York it's so much faster'," said Douglas, a Jonesboro High grad. "Here, it's normal."
Douglas, picked 29th overall in the draft, has been one of the NBA's top rookies, averaging 8.1 points per game. With guard Nate Robinson in coach Mike D'Antoni's doghouse, Douglas' minutes might be on the rise. In the Knicks' most recent game before Friday night, Douglas scored 17 points on 11 shots in 21 minutes. Before Friday, Douglas was averaging 8.1 points per game and 26.3 points per 48 minutes.
Douglas' older brother Harry, a Falcons wide receiver who is out for the season with a knee injury, was among those in attendance to support him.
"He's got a knack to score," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "I think if he continues and he stays healthy, he'll be a nice piece in this league for a long time."
Missing the Gators
Center Al Horford, who played at Florida, was disappointed that he would have to miss his Gators in the SEC Championship game Saturday at the Georgia Dome. The Hawks were to leave after the game Friday night for Dallas, where they'll play the Mavericks tonight.
While declining to predict a score, Horford was confident.
"I know we're going to handle our business; that's all I can say," he said.
The Hawks received further confirmation of their rising status in the NBA. Friday, ESPN picked up two more of their games, a Jan. 15 home game against Phoenix and a March 21 home game with San Antonio. Both tipoff times will be changed to 8 p.m. ESPN had already added the Dec. 9 home game against Chicago.
Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., former football great Warren Sapp and Braves minor-league outfielder Jordan Schafer were among those in attendance at Philips Arena on Friday.
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