When the Atlanta Hawks needed a guy to step up following the injury to Al Horford, coach Mike Budenholzer turned to Pero Antic to get the job done and he responded in a big way for his coach.
With Antic in the starting lineup, the Hawks didn’t skip a beat on the offensive end because of the Macedonian’s unique skill set for a big man. He gave coach Bud another scoring option to help spread the floor for his teammates because of his ability to hit the three-ball while on the court, which in turn generated success for a team hoping to survive without their All-Star center for the rest of the season.
However, like Horford, Antic suffered an injury of his own when he hurt his ankle late in the game against the Orlando Magic not too long ago. He was expected to only miss 2-4 weeks, but it seems that the healing process is going a little slow for the center as he will miss an additional two weeks, which really hurts the Hawks’ chances of winning games. Since he went down with an injury, things haven’t been the same for an Atlanta team fighting to maintain its position in the Eastern Conference.
He was averaging 11.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game in his new role as a starter to help the Hawks continue their winning ways to maintain the No. 3 seed in the East before he went down. However, since this moment Atlanta is struggling to garner victories without Antic in the lineup.
In eight games without the Macedonian, the Hawks have only recorded three wins and even these wins weren’t very impressive. All three teams they beat didn’t even have a winning record and two of them are arguably some of the worst teams in the NBA, the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers. Beating them even without Antic is great, but this should be expected from a team with the caliber of players such as Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague on the roster.
Luckily for the Hawks, the All-Star break is just around the corner. This will give Antic time to heal from his injury, which is great news for the Hawks. They need their starting center back in the lineup if they want to continue to fight for a top seed in the playoffs out of the East.