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Hawks may be minus big man tonight

POSTED: April 25, 2011 10:05 a.m.

ATLANTA — Zaza Pachulia is not one to back down.
The NBA is likely to sit him down, which could be a big blow for Atlanta.
The Hawks took the upper hand in their Eastern Conference playoff series with Orlando, clinching an 88-84 victory when Jamal Crawford banked in an improbable 3-pointer with 5.7 seconds remaining in Game 3 Friday night.
But the game was marred by an altercation between Pachulia and Jason Richardson of the Magic with about 2-1/2 minutes remaining.
Both players were tossed and face likely suspensions for Game 4 toinight in Atlanta.
The Hawks, up 2-1 in the best-of-seven series, figure to miss their backup center more than one might expect. Pachulia went toe-to-toe with Dwight Howard, handed a bigger-than-expected role after Jason Collins injured his lower back taking a charge from Orlando’s big man in the first half.
Pachulia head-butted Richardson at least one time, and the Orlando player responded with a slap to the jaw.
“In that situation, I’m never going to back down,” said Pachulia, who had two long scratches on his right arm. “That’s just my personality.”
Howard led the way for the Magic with 21 points and 15 rebounds, but that was actually quite a letdown after he averaged 39.5 points during the first two games in Orlando.
The Hawks limited him to 14 shots and nine free throws, with Pachulia taking over the bulk of the load from Collins.
- Associated Press

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