On the first possession of the fourth quarter on Friday, Atlanta Hawks big man Al Horford appeared to bump knees with Cleveland Cavaliers swingman Iman Shumpert. The Hawks were down by 18 points at the time and went on to lose 94-82, and now they have to hope that moment won't have any lasting impact.
Horford, who also appeared to bang knees with J.R. Smith in the second quarter, was initially carried off the court, but was able to check back into the game with 8:38 left. He exited less than four minutes later with the game out of hand. After the game, he told reporters that he was hit in the quad but is OK, via Bleacher Report's Ethan Skolnick.
"He had two or three different times where he got hit in the same spot," Atlanta head coach Mike Budenholzer said. "The feedback from him after the game, I think that he's going to be OK. I think that it's just one of those things. A couple hits, a couple bangs, we're hopeful that he'll be fine going into Game 3."
Budenholzer's team obviously cannot afford to lose Horford or have him limited by an injury. He finished the game with 12 points on 5-for-8 shooting, plus six rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block. If anything, he needs to be much more involved offensively when the series shifts to Cleveland.
The Hawks are without Thabo Sefolosha and have a diminished version of DeMarre Carroll at the moment. About a minute before Horford hurt himself, Kyle Korver sprained his right ankle and had to leave the game. He didn't return.
All of a sudden, there's a doomsday feeling around the Atlanta squad that had a storybook regular season. While the Cavaliers clicked on both ends in Game 2, the Hawks fell apart. If there's going to be a huge comeback in the conference finals, Horford has to be a major part of it.