When he held his pregame news conference, Atlanta coach MIke Budenholzer said he expected center Dwight Howard and guard Tim Hardaway Jr. to play tonight against the Wolves at Target Center.

That has changed. Howard will play after recovering from some back tightness. But Hardaway, battling a right groin injury, will not. Both players missed Wednesday's game against the Wolves.

The addition of Howard – and his 14.2 points, 13.0 rebounds and 1.5  blocks per game – changes the Hawks lineup.

“You’re talking about one of the elite bigs in the league, in terms of rebounding, shot-blocking and he’s such a force rolling to the basket,’’ Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau said of Howard. “It changes, a bit, how they play, in terms of their ability to spread you out. They can play big with Howard in there, and also downsize and go small. You have to be ready for both.’’