Hawks’ Josh Smith sits out against Pacers with hip injury
Josh Smith was pulled out of the fourth quarter during Friday’s 102-94 win over Cleveland Cavaliers with a strained right hip flexor. Due to Josh Smith’s absence, the Atlanta Hawks had to go with a make-shift starting lineup with the presence of big bodies in the lineup. Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, Lou Williams Al Horford, and Zaza Pachulia were expected to get the starting call against the Indiana Pacers earlier Friday, with the big lineup anchored by David West and Roy Hibbert. Forward David West had a huge night in the Atlanta Hawks’ first meeting with the Indiana Pacers this season on 7th November, while Paul George has been an emerging player over the last month. The duo will definitely draw some attention Saturday night. While the Atlanta Hawks already have Zaza Pachulia in the rotation, the team may try to get Jeff Teague together on court with Lou Williams as well.
The Atlanta Hawks won 89-86 at home during their first meeting with the Indiana Pacers this season after a hot fourth quarter comeback, outscoring the Pacers 24-9 during the period.
Josh Smith’s injury comes at a bad time for the Eastern Conference’ third-seed Atlanta Hawks, who are into a crucial matchup just two games ahead of today’s opponent, the fourth-seeded Indiana Pacer. Moreover, the Atlanta Hawks are already missing shooting guard Anthony Morrow, who stayed out of the second half of Friday’s game with a strained right hip, and point guard Devin Harris, who remains sidelined for the sixth-consecutive game with a left foot injury.
The Atlanta Hawks will be looking to extend their three-game winning streak and establish a form standing as Eastern Conference No.3 seed by beating the Indiana Pacers Saturday.
Josh Smith had been leading the Atlanta Hawks in scoring with 16.6 points, and ranked second in rebounds (8.2 RPG) behind Al Horford. Although Al Horford was dealing with a right hip contusion, he started tonight against the Indiana Pacers, and is expected to carry the bulk of scoring at the frontcourt averaging 15.7 points per game this season. However, Al Horford is going to require extra help to keep off double teams coming towards him, now that Josh Smith won’t be on the floor tonight.
The good news is it doesn’t seem to be a long-term issue for the Atlanta Hawks with Josh Smith’s hip injury appearing not all that serious.