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Wizards vs. Hawks preview: Washington renews rivalry with division foe

NBA: Playoffs-Washington Wizards at Atlanta Hawks Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info

When: Saturday, November 11 at 7 p.m.
Where: Capital One Arena in Washington D.C.
TV: NBC Sports Washington
Win probabilities: Washington has an 88 percent chance of winning according to FiveThirtyEight.

Injury Report

Wizards: John Wall (Questionable, Illness), Sheldon Mac (Out, Achilles)

Hawks: DeAndre Bembry (Out, Ankle), Ersan Ilyasova (Out, Knee), Miles Plumlee (Doubtful, Quad), Mike Muscala (Day-to-Day, Ankle)

What to Watch for

Did the Wizards learn anything from their playoff series?

The Hawks kicked off a rebuild after the Wizards knocked them out of the playoffs last season, and they’ve seen a sharp dropoff in the early part of the season. After finishing last season 43-39, they’re just 2-9 to start this season.

Paul Millsap and Dwight Howard are gone, but the Hawks still have some players who can make things challenging for Washington. Don’t forget, Dennis Schroder averaged 24.7 points and 7.7 assists per game with a 58.6 true shooting percentage during last April’s series.

Mike Budenholzer is still around too and he was able to put together a smart plan that helped Atlanta keep the series much closer than many expected. The Hawks focused on preventing Otto Porter from getting open looks throughout the series. He only attempted 3 threes per game during the series after averaging 4.5 during the regular season, and only made 7 threes total during the series. The shift forced John Wall and Bradley Beal to create more off-the-dribble, and while it ended up working out in the end, it made the series more challenging than many expected.

We’ll see if the Hawks try to employ a similar plan this time around. It would be a major shift from what we’ve seen from them early in the season. Only one team in the league has allowed more three point attempts per game than the Hawks so far this season.

A random moment in Wizards - Hawks history: Marcin Gortat’s dunk on Paul Millsap

Fun fact: I was in a swing chair when this happened, and it’s a good thing I was because otherwise I would have jumped up and made a scene that would not have gone over well on an Easter Sunday.