Who says it doesn't matter if you clinch early?
Josh Smith and Jason Collins will miss the Atlanta Hawks next two games, while nursing injuries, the team announced on Thursday. Smith, who also sat out in Atlanta's loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Smith, one of Atlanta's main cogs on defense, reaggravated that same knee that he injured in Denver last month.
While the injury is not considered to be serious, it makes more sense to shut down the Atlanta forward after the team secured the No. 5 seed so that J-Smoove can be healthy when the Hawks take on Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic in the first round of the playoffs.
Jason Collins, who twisted an ankle in Monday's loss, will also be wearing a suit on Friday and Saturday. The Hawks need Collins' defensive presence against Howard in the middle when their first round series against the Magic starts in a few weeks. Collins has figured out a way to frustrate Howard when he tries to go to the bucket. His defense enable the Hawks to take the season series between the two clubs by a margin of three games to one.
Atlanta takes on the Indiana Pacers and the Washington Wizards on the road on Friday and Saturday nights before concluding their home slate with a visit from LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat on Monday night at the Highlight Factory. Both Smith and Collins hope to return for that game.