Hawks star bigs Josh Smith (knee) and Al Horford (torn pectoral) both returned from injuries in Sunday's Game 4 blowout loss to the Celtics, and both expect to be ready for Game 5 in Atlanta when the C's attempt to close out their first-round series on Tuesday.
"I'm gonna play," Smith said. "I'm gonna play. It's a must-win game. I know we're fighting the odds right now, but there shouldn't be no quit in this team. We have to go out on Tuesday and establish ourselves early, and we have to get a win to try to force a sixth game."
After sitting out Game 3 with a sprained left knee, Smith recorded his third double-double in as many games this series, totaling 15 points (5-of-13 field goals) and adding 13 rebounds. He played 31 minutes in his return.
Meanwhile, teammate Al Horford played his first minutes since Jan. 11. He missed the final 55 games of the regular season and the first three games of the series with a torn pectoral muscle. Horford came off the bench to manage 12 points (6-of-10 FG) and five rebounds in 20 minutes.
"I was happy the way that I was able to come out and handle myself," said Horford, who started the second half. "We'll see how I feel [Monday]. Either way, I'm going to be supporting the team. If I can play, I will. If not, then I'll be there to support them like I have all year."
The Celtics not only expect both Smith and Horford to be in the lineup for Game 5, but they anticipate even better play from the starting frontcourt.
"I know they'll be focused, ready to take the home court," said C's guard Keyon Dooling, who scored 10 points off the bench. "They got Al Horford back. He had a solid game. ... Josh will be a little bit healthier next time we see them. They'll be ready when we get to Atlanta."
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