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Josh Smith says he’ll play in Sunday’s Game 4 vs. Celtics

May 5, 2012, 1:53 PM EDT

Josh Smith AP

Atlanta fared surprisingly well in Game 3 without Josh Smith, losing a closer-than-expected contest to a Celtics team that saw both Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen return to the lineup.

The Hawks won’t have to go without him again in Game 4, reports A. Sherrod Blakely of

Josh Smith acknowledges the left knee sprain that kept him out of Game 3 is still bothersome.

That pain, he says, won’t prevent him from playing in Game 4 on Sunday.

“It’s still a little pain in there, but I understand the importance of this game,” Smith told “You can’t play injured, but you can play a little hurt.”

Smith won’t practice on Saturday, and will test the knee at shootaround on Sunday. But he clearly feels it’s a pain management issue at this point, and if that’s the case, expect him to be back in the lineup for Game 4.

Even a little Smith for the Hawks should help them immensely. They got next to nothing from their frontcourt players in Game 3, yet behind big games from Joe Johnson and Jeff Teague, along with a solid all-around 40-plus minutes from Tracy McGrady, Atlanta was able to hang tough and take things to overtime before eventually falling to Boston.

Expect everything the Hawks have on Sunday to avoid going down three games to one to Boston. We’ll see if whatever Smith is able to provide will be enough to even the series.

  1. lakerade - May 5, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    So an overdue ATL team lacking a frontcourt vs a BOS team w age and injury issues, for the right to meet either of a CHI team w 2 starters out vs a PHI team w little to no offense. That whole side of the bracket is a joke now, the winner just the next eastern conf fodder to “challenge” MIA after they coast thru a dysfunctional NYK team only to face the winner of the hiccup of a series that is the gimpy ORL team vs an IND squad that now looks like the biggest threat to MIA by default. #Leasternconference

    • hwatt - May 5, 2012 at 3:09 PM

      Yeah I stopped watching all the east playoff games. It’s pointless. IND is indeed the last hope to at least steal one game from MIA. But… it’s very likely the heat will steamroll everyone to the finals where they’ll see the spurs. OKC has matured greatly, but you don’t beat the Spurs who are healthy and have multiple championships

      • jjordannba - May 5, 2012 at 8:24 PM

        If yall don’t think the Celtics can win one game against Miami then your plain dumb

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