Apr 23, 2012, 1:34 PM EDT
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.
“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.