CLEVELAND --- Al Horford's right ankle is a problem again for the Hawks . Horford said his ankle began bothering him in the second half of the Hawks' Game 1 loss to Cleveland on Tuesday night.
Wednesday morning, it kept him off the practice floor. It could keep him out of the lineup for Game 2 tonight.
"If I had to say right now, I'd say probably not," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said after practice when asked if Horford was going to play. "He looked good before halftime. But the long break must have done something, because he was having all sorts of trouble after that.
"I'd rather give him a couple of days of rest and have him healthy for Game 3 [Saturday night at Philips Arena] rather than pushing him now and making it worse."
Horford limped around for nearly nine minutes in the second half, grabbing just one rebound before going out for good early in the fourth quarter.
He sprained the ankle before halftime of the Hawks' Game 5 win over Miami. He sat out Game 6 to rest, then played 32 minutes in the Hawks' Game 7 win over the Heat.
"I felt fine in the first half, and I don't know if it was the jumping or the banging or whatever, but it was throbbing at halftime," Horford said. "I told coach I was going to try and do whatever I could. After a while, though, I had to shut it down. I'm trying to rest today, and we'll see what I can do tomorrow. But if it's not doing what it's supposed to do, I don't see how I'll be able to play like this."
Woodson said Zaza Pachulia would take Horford's place in the starting lineup in Game 2.
Need to play well longer
Wednesday's film review of Game 1 turned up exactly what Woodson thought he saw during the game. The Hawks played well, just not long enough for it to matter in the end.
"We played two quarters and seven minutes of good Basketball," Woodson said. "And then it was like the bottom fell out. We just didn't have enough pop."
Getting that "pop" back with just one day between games might prove to be much tougher than it was in the series against Miami, when the days between games were spread out more.
"We've got to tap into our reserve energy right now and get it going," Josh Smith said. "We're all tired right now. I think every team still playing has to kick it into that extra gear this time of year. That's just the way it goes in the playoffs."
As impressive as the Cavaliers were offensively in Game 1, it was their ability to limit the Hawks' fast-break and second-chance points that proved to be the biggest factor in the win.
After leading the entire playoff field in the first round in fast-break points (17), the Hawks managed just six in Game 1. They also had just eight second-chance points.
"With any team, we feel like in the half court offense we can guard them," said Cavs guard Daniel Gibson. "When you allow teams to get easy buckets in transition, it makes their half court offense that much better because they gain confidence. We just tried to limit our turnovers and limit their fast-break points."