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BASKETBALL

Horford stars, but rugged Johnson gives Hawks physical presence needed to compete with Pacers

  • Atlanta Hawks small forward Josh Smith (5) walks off the court after the second half in Game 3 of their first-round NBA basketball playoff series, against the Indiana Pacers, Saturday, April 27, 2013 in Atlanta. Atlanta won 90-69. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)The Associated Press

  • Indiana Pacers small forward Paul George (24) reacts against the Atlanta Hawks during the second half in Game 3 of their first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Saturday, April 27, 2013 in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)The Associated Press

  • Atlanta Hawks point guard Jeff Teague (0) loses the ball as Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert (55) and Indiana Pacers point guard George Hill (3) defend during the first half in Game 3 of their first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Saturday, April 27, 2013 in Atlanta. Teague was injured on the play (AP Photo/John Bazemore)The Associated Press

  • Indiana Pacers power forward David West (21) reacts to a foul against the Atlanta Hawks during the first half in Game 3 of their first-round NBA basketball playoff series, against the Indiana Pacers, Saturday, April 27, 2013 in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)The Associated Press

  • Atlanta Hawks power forward Ivan Johnson (44) dunks the ball against the Indiana Pacers during the second half in Game 3 of their first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Saturday, April 27, 2013 in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)The Associated Press

When Ivan Johnson is banging around in the lane and staring down opponents, the Atlanta Hawks are a different team.

They hope the rugged, bearded forward can keep it up in Game 4 of the playoffs against the Indiana Pacers.

While Al Horford was the star of Atlanta's Game 3 rout, it was Johnson who set the physical tone the Hawks so desperately needed after losing the first two games in Indianapolis. He played more than 26 minutes off the bench, scoring seven points, grabbing seven rebounds and picking up five fouls in 90-69 blowout.

Johnson's defensive presence helped free up Horford to focus more on the offensive end. He responded with 26 points.

The Hawks will try to even the best-of-seven series at two wins apiece on Monday night.