No professional sports arena, however, welcomed more voters than the Atlanta Hawks’ State Farm Arena, according to USA TODAY Sports’ data. Nearly 40,000 Fulton County residents voted at the arena during early voting in Georgia, a key state in which Joe Biden holds a narrow lead over Donald Trump. The team wanted to provide a non-partisan site without long waiting times. With 302 voting machines at physically-distanced locations, poll workers kept lines moving even when there were 3,000 people per day during the first week of early voting. “The biggest thing for us was taking that initial step,” Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said. “We were the first team to activate our arena. It’s an idea, thought and action item that came to fruition. It started off as idea and then became a no-brainer. … We were really proud as an organization to pull it off.”
January 24, 2021 | 12:31 pm EST Update
Ex-NBA star Joe Johnson says Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving are already the most lethal scoring big 3 in NBA history … telling TMZ Sports the Brooklyn Nets will be a serious problem for “any damn body.” It’s a huge statement coming from Johnson — after all, the Golden State Warriors won 2 ‘ships with the offensive juggernaut of KD, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson … and very well could have won more if everyone had stayed healthy.
The Heat will use coronavirus-sniffing dogs at AmericanAirlines Arena to screen fans who want to attend their games. They’ve been working on the plan for months, and the highly trained dogs have been in place for some games this season in which the team has allowed a handful of guests — mostly friends and family of players and staff. Starting this week, a limited number of ticket holders will be in the seats as well, provided they get past the dogs first.
“If you think about it, detection dogs are not new,” said Matthew Jafarian, the Heat’s executive vice president for business strategy. “You’ve seen them in airports, they’ve been used in mission-critical situations by the police and the military. We’ve used them at the arena for years to detect explosives.”
January 24, 2021 | 11:49 am EST Update
Tim MacMahon: J.J. Barea’s contract with the Spanish team Estudiantes includes an NBA out, sources told ESPN. Barea remains determined to play in NBA this season. Playing in Spain’s top division will give the longtime Mavericks PG a chance to play against good competition and showcase himself.
Justin Kubatko: The Warriors have eight losses this season. The average margin of defeat in those games is 18.75 points, the worst such figure in the NBA this season. Five of their losses have been by 15 or more points. Only the Kings and Timberwolves have more such losses this season (6).
Russell has always justified his reasons for the Wolves’ struggles to newness. They have the youngest roster in the NBA and have been missing Towns for most of the season. Rubio said he is fine with playing off the ball if it adds winning to the mix. “Whatever the team needs, and if it’s playing off the ball, it’s going to take some time, because I have to learn and I have to know my teammates better and know my game and how to play off the ball,” Rubio said. “It’s a challenge, and it takes you to uncomfortable zones, but it’s a learning process. You don’t learn something from one day to another. It’s step by step.”