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Wizards vs. Hawks Game 5 preview: Washington looks to take control of series at home

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Atlanta Hawks v Washington Wizards - Game Two Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Game Info

When: Wednesday, April 26 at 6 p.m. ET
Where: Verizon Center in Washington D.C.
TV: TNT, CSN Mid-Atlantic, Fox Sports Southeast

Injury Report

Wizards: Ian Mahinmi (Out, Calf)

Hawks: Everyone’s healthy

What to watch for

How will everyone handle the early start?

It’s hard enough to get fans to the Verizon Center on time when games start at 7 p.m. With Wednesday’s game starting at 6 p.m., it could mean the crowd is a little tamer than you might expect for the start of a pivotal Game 5.

Let’s hope if the crowd is sparse that it doesn’t affect Washington’s performance in the early going. They need the starters to come out and set the tone early, like they did in Games 1 & 2. Otherwise, Atlanta’s bench could break the game wide open when John Wall and Bradley Beal are resting and the game could be out of reach before the crowd gets there.

How will Washington’s frontcourt adjust?

The strong play of Marcin Gortat, Markieff Morris, and Otto Porter was a key part of why the team was able to start this series so well, but they went silent in Atlanta. Together, they combined to average 21 points on 24.5 shots during Games 3 & 4.

Even if they can’t outplay Atlanta’s starting frontline, they need to at least be more efficient on the other end. If they can manage that in this one, it puts Washington in a much stronger position to win Game 5.

Most Likely Wizards Killer: Taurean Prince

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

The Hawks’ rookie has been very efficient throughout this series. He’s averaging 13.3 points per game while shooting 63.9 percent from the field. He’s been exploiting Washington’s inattentive off-ball defense to get very efficient shots near the rim and he’s 4-8 from deep.

If the Wizards can limit his opportunities to get cheap points off of defensive miscues, it will put more pressure on Paul Millsap and Dennis Schroder to make harder shots.