The path for Atlanta to beat Boston in the first round of the playoffs just got harder.
The Hawks are going to have to do it without their best player, center Al Horford. He had been out for much of the season with a torn pectoral muscle. The hope was that he could return for the playoffs to give his team a size and skill boost along the front line against a Celtics team playing small more now.
Not going to happen, Horford told Marc Spears of Yahoo, via Sulia.
“I don’t feel like it is realistic that I can play for the playoffs,” Horford said. “Obviously, if we advance and start going we will see. But as of right now the way I feel I think I am out for the playoffs.”
Without Horford we are going to get a lot of Josh Smith on Kevin Garnett, which should be entertaining. But the way Boston is defending right now and getting great play from their role players like Avery Bradley and Brandon Bass, I just don’t see the Hawks advancing. Not without Horford.
When DeMarcus Cousins builds up a head of steam like this… poor John Henson (and kind of Khris Middleton).
This helped the Pelicans pull away for a 115-108 win over the Bucks last night.
During the Wizards’ win over the Grizzlies last night, Mario Chalmers tried to stop Jason Smith from shooting after Smith had been called for travelling. It’s a fairly common tactic, one pioneered by Kevin Garnett. Players don’t want their opponents to gain confidence by seeing the ball go through the net, even after play stops.
But Chalmers held onto Smith’s arm, and Smith took umbrage.
NBC Sports Washington:
I think it’s more likely, after halting Smith’s shot, Chalmers was trying to hold up Smith rather than yank him down. But I can’t know Chalmers’ intentions, and holding up a falling person by his arm isn’t very effective.
The double technical foul called seems about fair.
The NBA trade deadline got moved up this season to Feb. 8 so the league can avoid the spectacle of DeMarcus Cousins being traded during the All-Star Game and then doing an uncomfortable press interview afterward where he had to be told of the situation.
That means we are less than two months away from the trade deadline, and in this PBT Extra I look at the big names that could be on the market.
The Clippers seem likely to move DeAndre Jordan, the only questions are where and what will they get back? But three other teams have big decisions to make about their stars: Oklahoma City with Paul George, New Orleans with DeMarcus Cousins, and Memphis with Marc Gasol. Right now none of those guys are on the market, but that could change.
Trey Lyles made a nice play in the Nuggets’ loss to the Celtics last night, driving by Jayson Tatum then dunking on him.
On the other hand, that swirl around Tatum’s head was not very nice at all.