The Atlanta Hawks were down two games to none to the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs. However, the solid play of small forward Josh Smith and center Al Horford has the Hawks right back in the thick of it.
Smith and Horford went off in the last two games to help tie the series at two games apiece. It makes sense that these two players are the ones leading the team in scoring during the postseason considering they are who the other players look up to. There is no question if Atlanta is going to go deep in the playoffs it is going to be up to Smith and Horford to take them there.
The 27-year-old Smith is averaging a team-high 18.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 32.3 minutes per game while shooting 50.0 percent from the field in the postseason. His best performance through the first four games came in Monday’s 102-91 victory over the Pacers. Smith recorded 29 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and three steals while converting 45.0 percent of his shots. The Hawks will need him to have a similar performance Wednesday night if they want to be victorious in Indiana.
Meanwhile, Horford is second on the team with an average of 17.8 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.0 block and 34.3 minutes per game. He is shooting 52.6 percent from the field while averaging 14.3 field goal attempts per contest. Horford has done a terrific job limiting Pacers center Roy Hibbert’s opportunities around the basket.
It will be no easy task to take two more games from Indiana, especially if there is a Game 7. However, if Smith and Horford continue their dominating play, it is hard to believe the Pacers will be able to stop the Hawks from advancing to the next round.