The Hawks’ company line was to move forward after the team faced the Nuggets on Thursday night without the services of backup point guard Dennis Schroder.
Schroder was suspended by the NBA for one game, without pay, for striking Kings center DeMarcus Cousins in the groin during Tuesday’s game in Sacramento. No foul was called on the play.
“I have to respect it right now,” Schroder said of the suspension. “I didn’t try to do it (intentionally), but when the NBA decided that, I have to live with that.”
The one-game suspension will cost Schroder approximately $16,441.
Schroder struck Cousins as he fought through a screen with 9:54 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Hawks’ 105-100 victory. Schroder was defending the Kings’ Isaiah Thomas when he tangled with Cousins, who called the play at “cheap shot.”
Schroder said he didn’t realize what happened until following the game when friends used social media to send him pictures and video of the incident. He said he was disappointed to be suspended. He said he would watch the game in the team hotel and looks forward to returning Saturday at home against the Magic.
“You know that I play hard defense every time,” Schroder said. “We don’t talk about (how) to (get around a screen) next time. We can’t worry about that.”
Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer also said his team would look forward.
“The league has to make hard, difficult, subjective decisions,” Budenholzer said. “We all have to live with that. Our focus is on moving forward. … We have a lot of respect for the league and how difficult it is. We are focused on moving forward, both for Dennis and for our group.”
With Schroder out, the backup point guard duties fell to Shelvin Mack. He entered Thursday’s game having appeared in one of the Hawks’ first four games, for a total of four minutes. Mack said he was ready to step up and do whatever the Hawks need.
With Lou Williams recovering from a torn right ACL, the Hawks were down to two true point guards in starter Jeff Teague and Mack.
Budenholzer said that being without Schroder would not mean an increase in minutes for Teague.
“No, at least I hope not,” Budenholzer said of increased minutes for Teague. “He’s been playing pretty big minutes. Could he play a couple more? Sure. I don’t want to play Jeff the whole game. I think we’ve been keeping him around 32 to 36 (minutes). That will kind of be the plan again.
“When you get in the heat of the moment you may adjust a little bit. We feel good about Shelvin and feel good about our group. I don’t think I want to run Jeff into the ground this early in the season.”
Facing the Nuggets and their speedy point guard Ty Lawson was the biggest challenge for the Hawks without Schroder. The Nuggets could also bring Nate Robinson off the bench. He has proved to be a thorn in the Hawks’ side in the past.