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Carroll Loss Would Add to Hawks Problems

Posted by Webster Washington on 5/25/2015 1:36:02 AM

The Atlanta Hawks pride themselves on their all-hands-on-deck approach. Coach Mike Budenholzer has nourished a team that has no superstars, only six players who average in double figures, and two or three others who contribute consistently. So a single missing link in this broadly balanced scheme shouldn’t be of great concern. Well, maybe when it comes to DeMarre Carroll.

Carroll went to the floor with a knee injury late in Game 1 of the Hawks’ Eastern Conference title series with Cleveland on Wednesday, and Atlanta fans were breathless with prospects that the 6-7 forward would be missing for at least Game 2. Apparently, he was the most effective defense against Cavs’ superstar LeBron James, who ended up with 31 points in the Cavs’ 97-89 win. After an MRI, Carroll’s agent said that Carroll had a sprain, no structural damage, and that he would try to play the next game.

Carroll could play on limited minutes, with limited effectiveness, or not at all. But Budenholzer has other issues to deal with. He would certainly hope his team can improve on the 17 percent three-point shooting on Wednesday night. And he wants his players to position themselves to halt the Cavaliers’ hot shooting. Cavs’ guard J.R. Smith came off the bench to scorch the Hawks on 8-12 shooting from three-point regions. Smith finished with 28 points. Cleveland also outrebounded the Hawks, 49-37.

Mike Muscala and Pero Antic will be called on to help spell Carroll, who averages 17 points and seven rebounds. But the Hawks team needs to shoot better and defend the three-pointers to get back into the winning column before it is too late.

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