After Al Horford went down for the season, Gustavo Ayon was one of the guys who soaked up those minutes and has played decent ball in that role.
Make that had played — Ayon is done for the season after right shoulder surgery, the team announced Friday.
In his last 10 games Ayon averaged 21 minutes a night, with 6.1 points on 52.8 percent shooting, plus pulling down 5.6 rebounds a game. He’s no Horford but of late he had been solid.
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Now rookie coach Mike Budenholzer can turn to Mike Scott and Elton Brand as the eighth seed Hawks try to hold off the Detroit Pistons (3.5 games back) and Cleveland Cavaliers (4 back) for the final playoff spot in the East (and the right to get crushed by the Pacers in the first round).