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Wizards vs. Hawks Game 3 Preview: Washington seeks road win in Atlanta

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NBA: Playoffs-Atlanta Hawks at Washington Wizards Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info

When: Saturday, April 22, at 5:30 p.m EST.
Where: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: TNT, CSN Mid-Atlantic, Fox Sports Southeast

Injury Report

Wizards: Though Mahinmi is day to day at this point with a calf injury, Scott Brooks said he will not play in Game 3 and has not practiced with the team.

Hawks: The Hawks are expected to have their full roster available.

Keys to Victory

Keep up the defensive intensity

Don’t look now, but the Wizards have the fourth best defensive rating in the playoffs so far. It’s only two games and they’re playing the Atlanta Hawks who are probably the worst offensive team in the postseason in either conference.

But still, Washington has managed to fight through foul trouble to put up two very good defensive games against Atlanta. They’ve had their lapses here and there, but have an overall defensive rating of 100.5 which is about 9 points per 100 possessions lower than their regular season mark.

Yes, it’s a small sample. But each series is its own seven game season. If the Wizards keep this up on the road, they’ll probably come back home waiting to see who their opponent is in the next round.

Marcin Gortat > Dwight Howard

For a majority of the season, Gortat’s play was steady. It fell off after the All-Star break when he lost minutes to Ian Mahinmi and was battling fatigue from heavy minutes earlier in the season, but so far this postseason he has been the best center on the floor.

He has outplayed Dwight Howard in so many areas. He’s blocked shots, cleaned up the glass, drawn charges and loose ball fouls all over the place. He’s even diving on the floor for loose balls at this point.

It’s the playoffs. Every ounce of effort counts and Gortat has given it his all. If he can keep it up in Atlanta, the Wizards should be in a position to win Game 3.

Most Likely Wizard Killer: Dennis Schroder

NBA: Playoffs-Atlanta Hawks at Washington Wizards Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Dennis Schroder has had a pretty good series so far. The way things have unfolded you really would not be able to tell, but Schroeder has actually averaged 24 points per game and 7.5 assists on 43 percent shooting from the floor.

Those are raw numbers and don’t tell the entire story, but that’s decent for a guy who wasn’t expected to have a huge impact on the series. He’s also shooting 30 percent from deep, but in the regular season he was a 35 percent shooter from three at home. With the series moving to Atlanta, he could have a bigger impact. The Wizards will need to contain him to continue to shut the Hawks’ offense down.