Originally written May 02, 2012 on Fox Sports South:
Georgia_tech_v_8f08
There is a sign outside the Atlanta Hawks' locker room, large and bold and impossible to miss. It reads, "Talent wins games. Defense wins championships." Unfortunately, for Larry Drew's limping squad, they head to Boston for Game 3 of the NBA Playoffs short of both. The Celtics came back from an 11-point deficit to capture Game 2 in Atlanta and even the series 1-1, not because of Doc Rivers' inspirational coaching or superhuman basketball by any member of the team: they won because the Hawks don't have a big man and can't push the tempo for four solid quarters. Al Horford should have been that guy, the solid presence underneath that added an invaluable dimension to the defense. But Horford has been, and will continue to be, out with a torn left pectoral muscle (which is as painful as it sounds). Horford's replacement Zaza Pachulia is no two-time All Star, but he was once a dozen-points-a-night guy, so there was no great worry. Then Pachulia went down with the sprained foot (which is even more painful than it sounds). Pachulia has been sidelined for more than three weeks and is listed as day-to-day. Even if he came back in Game 3 in Boston, there isn't much hope that Pachulia would be at full speed. After the Game 1 win, Coach Drew didn't seem worried about going small. "I'm actually not that concerned at all, to be perfectly honest,'' Drew said. "We have played without both guys a number of times. Would we like to have them? Yes. But we've been able to play without them, and to have some success without them." "Some success" meant lighting it up from outside and getting tons of transition baskets off the break. But if shooters like Joe Johnson and Josh Smith had a cold night, or if a team stopped the break and slowed the tempo, the Hawks struggled, as they did on Tuesday night. Now, there is more bad news. Smith, who went down clutching his left knee in the fourth quarter of Game 2, has been diagnosed with a strained tendon. While it could have been much worse, a strained tendon in the knee can be as debilitating as a broken femur. Smith is also listed as day-to-day, leaving the Hawks with Johnson, point guard Jeff Teague, and a cadre of role players who will likely struggle against a healthy and hungry Paul Peirce and Kevin Garnett. "I'm very concerned about it," Drew said on Wednesday during a very short shoot-around and film session the team had at Philips Arena before leaving for Boston. "I know Josh is the kind of guy that if he's just hurting, he's going to play. He has that kind of toughness. But if it's a situation where he can't play, then he won't be out there." And if he's not out there, the Hawks' chances of taking a game on the road in front of the always boisterous Celtics fans will fall from slim to dangerously skinny. The situation isn't dire just yet. But dire is in the building. If Smith and Pachulia are both on the bench, the Celtics should roll through the rest of the series.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Sammy Watkins calls out EJ Manuel

Larry Donnell benches himself in fantasy, loses because of it

Josh Gordon says NFL’s drug policy is harrassment

Steve Smith: Ron Rivera hid in his office after cutting me

Rondo hoping for an opening night return from broken hand

Jon Gruden on Raiders job: 'I'm not thinking about coaching'

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Tom Brady defends not congratulating Garoppolo on TD

Ohio State student who ran on field loses full scholarship

Report: Carson Palmer's nerve injury 'still lingering'

Adam Dunn to retire after 14-year MLB career

Ryan Lochte: Phelps made dumb decision, will learn from it

Tiger Woods to open restaurant in Florida next year

Who is the new face of MLB?

NHL 15 predicts the LA Kings win the Cup again

J.J. Watt buys his mom a new car for her birthday

Ranking the NFL coaches already sitting on the hot seat

WATCH: Smith tells Panthers to go home and mow his lawn

The best games on the NFL slate in Week 5

Aaron Rodgers says smoking gesture a tribute to Jay Cutler

What will the A’s look like in 2015?

Major League Baseball's 2014 All-Disappointment Team

Jeter introduces 'The Players Tribune,' 'The Voice of the Game'

Grading each NFL's team's play at quarter-season mark

MLB.com posts wrong story saying A's won game

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Sammy Watkins calls out EJ Manuel

Donnell benches himself in fantasy and loses

Gordon: Drug policy is harrassment

Who is the new face of baseball?

Steve Smith blasts Panthers coach, GM

What will the A’s look like in 2015?

All-Disappointment Team in MLB

Ryan Lochte: Phelps made dumb decision

WATCH: Brett Favre in new commercial

Brady snubs rookie after TD pass

FCC: Washington nickname 'inappropriate today'

Could Jon Gruden return to Oakland?

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.