Dwight Howard was not listed on the injury report despite taking a nasty fall in Game 3. The center was working with trainers following practice Sunday and did not take part in free-throw shooting exercises. Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said he was told of a specific ailment affecting Howard.
“Probably a little extra time with those guys working, keeping him loose, keeping him in a good place,” Budenholzer said.
The only injury reported for the Wizards was reserve center Ian Mahinmi who again won’t play due to a strained left calf.
The Hawks credited an increased effort and intensity for the fast start in their Game 3 victory Saturday. Kent Bazemore credited the sold out Philips Arena crowd for playing a factor in the win.
“The crowd was the best I’ve seen all year,” Bazemore said. “They were super loud for very long periods of time. Everyone was engaged. I don’t think the people courtside sat down for most of the game. It’s good to see. It’s good to feel. You come back down 0-2 and you see your community stand behind you. Those True to Atlanta shirts, it means a lot for us because it’s been an up-and-down season. We need all the support we can get. It was good and really encouraging to see everyone here supporting us.”
Rookie Taurean Prince has started all three games of the series. Thabo Sefolosha and Bazemore have been used off the bench. In Sefolosha’s case, he continues to rarely play. Bazemore said he is comfortable with his role and has supported Prince.
“I’m empowering Taurean,” Bazemore said. “Every time he walks on the floor I’m telling him to be special. He is special. He went to college for a long time. He’s a seasoned guy. I’m happy for him to be thrown out in the fire as a rookie and kind of answer the bell. He’s playing with immense energy, making plays. Defensively, he’s going to be great. He’s still working on some things. I’m there with him. I’m guiding him. Whatever coach needs me to do, I’m going to do for the betterment of the team. I love everything about this organization, about this coaching staff. I’ll give it my all regardless of the role I’m in.”
Prince has been the Hawks’ third-leading scorer in the playoffs at 14.0 points per game. He trails only Paul Millsap and Schroder at 25.0 points per game. Prince is also averaging 4.7 rebounds per game. Bazemore is averaging 9.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.7 assist off the bench.