Open thread: Regular season game 9


The essentials:
Trailblazers (4-5) vs. Wizards (3-5)
7 p.m.
Verizon Center
CSN

Last year:
February 11: Blazers 94, Wizards 73.
March 20: Blazers 100, Wizards 98.

Notable Blazers numbers this season (pound the salt):
18th in expected winning percentage (.357).
24th in pace factor (89.7 possessions per game).
20th in offensive efficiency/offensive rating (104.3).
24th in defensive efficiency/defensive rating (118.8).

Notable Blazers numbers last season
30th in expected winning percentage (.320).
29th in pace factor (87.2 posessions per game).
24th in offensive efficiency/offensive rating (105.9).
26th in defensive efficiency/defensive rating (111.8).

Key links
Blazers Edge.
The Inferno.
Blazers Blog.
Blazers Edge game preview.
True Hoop blog preview.
The Inferno blog preview.

Starting lineups:
Blazers
PG: Jarret Jack
SG: Brandon Roy
SF: Martell Webster
PF: LaMarcus Aldridge
C: Channing Frye

Wizards
PG: Gilbert Arenas
SG: DeShawn Stevenson
SF: Caron Butler
PF: Antawn Jamison
C: Brendan Haywood

Tonight's lines:
Blazers at Wizards: Wizards by 6
Over/Under on Big 3 scoring: 64.7 points.

This is going to be a tricky game.  Portland gave us two of our worst losses last year, and we're coming off a game in Minnesota last night.  

Portland had a gut-wrenching 92-88 loss in Philadelphia, but for the most part, they've played decently against a tough schedule.  They already have wins over Detroit, Dallas, and New Orleans, for example.  Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge are both averaging over 19 a game, and Martell Webster has been a revelation thus far at the small forward spot.

The thing about Portland is that they're a jump-shooting team.  Last night, Joel Pryzbilla played only 10 minutes, meaning we saw a lot of Aldridge-Frye up front.  That doesn't bode well for tall-ball, because do you really want Brendan Haywood chasing one of those two on the perimeter?  It'll be interesting to see how Eddie responds.

Offensively, we have to drive the lane, especially with Pryzbilla not playing much.  Aldridge is a phenomenal scorer, but he's not an incredible rebounder, and isn't much of a defensive presence.  Butler also needs to keep driving, because without Ime Udoka, Portland doesn't have a wing stopper on their roster.  

In the end, this should be interesting.  A win here would say a lot about this team.

This is an open game thread, so remember Nate McMillan, and a young Dick Enberg, here.

GO WIZARDS!

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