With the Atlanta Hawks facing a 2-0 series deficit to the Indiana Pacers in their first round series, the Hawks will need a monster performance from forward/center Al Horford in game three if they plan to make the series somewhat competitive.
The Hawks have been outscored 220-188 through the first two games of the series, with Horford only contributing 13.5 points so far in the postseason after averaging a career high 17.4 points per game in the regular season.
And it’s not as if Horford has just been missing a ton of shots — he’s shooting .522 from the field — the issue is that he isn’t getting many shot attempts. Atlanta will need to make a more concerted effort to get Horford the basketball around the basketball to help him be more effective against the Pacers front line.
Horford may be at a size disadvantage in this series against the 7’2″ Roy Hibbert, but he should still be able to contribute more than 13 points in Atlanta gets him the basketball in pick and roll or pick and pop situations. Even if Horford doesn’t score, bringing Hibbert away from the basket in P&R plays will give the Hawks an edge on the offense glass, allow Josh Smith to dive into the lane for put backs or create quickness mismatches on the perimeter for Jeff Teague.
The Hawks don’t have much of a chance to win the series against the Pacers, but they can at least extend it a couple of games by revising their strategy and getting Horford more involved in the offense. If so, Atlanta should be able to win a game or two at home and give themselves confidence for the rest of the series.