Open thread: Regular season Game 3



The essentials:
Magic (1-1) at Wizards (0-2)
7 p.m.
Verizon Center
Comcast Sports Net

Last year:
November 6: Magic 106, Wizards 103.
December 29: Wizards 112, Magic 111.
January 19: Wizards 114, Magic 93.
April 17: Magic 95, Wizards 89.

Notable Magic numbers (all are 2006/07):
12th in expected winning percentage (.514).
25th in pace factor (88.5 possessions per game).
22nd in offensive efficiency/offensive rating (106.3).
7th in defensive efficiency/defensive rating (105.9).

Key links
Third Quarter Collapse.
Believing in Magic
Third Quarter Collapse blog preview.
Believing in Magic blog preview.
20 Second Timeout trashes Gilbert Arenas, probably unnecessarily
Competition discussion: Orlando

Starting lineups:
Magic
PG: Jameer Nelson.
SG: Keith Bogans.
SF: Hedo Turkoglu.
PF: Rashard Lewis.
C: Dwight Howard.

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

Tonight's lines:
Magic at Wizards: Wizards by 2.5.
Over/Under on Big 3 scoring: 64.5 points.

I'm hoping the magic elixir of homecourt advantage will made a major difference tonight, as it did at the beginning of last season when this team got off to a slow start.  Orlando is the opponent, and it's a big game, because the Magic are one of the team's chief division rivals this season.

Orlando is coming off a 112-96 loss to Detroit last night, two nights after blowing out the Bucks 102-83 in their season opener at home.  Rashard Lewis, their prizes offseason signing, had one good game and one bad game, while Keith Bogans, the apparent starting shooting guard, was actually very good yesterday.

The important thing with Orlando is that you have to drive to the basket against them.  They were 29th in the league in most free throws surrendered per shot attempt, and had they not committed so many fouls, their already strong defense would have been even better.  Jacking up 20-footers obviously won't fly against anyone, but it's especially bad against Orlando.

If there's a game for Jamison and Butler to break out, it's tonight, when they go up against Lewis and Turkoglu defensively.  I'm expecting something good from Gilbert too, because Jameer Nelson is too small to guard him.

On the other end, it'll be interesting to see how the Wiz match up with Lewis.  It seems like the perfect game for Andray Blatche to play, but then again, so did yesterday.  I'm confident Haywood can do well against Dwight Howard defensively, but when he's out, we're in trouble.  Haywood also has to keep Howard off the glass, which he did do well against Garnett yesterday.

Alright, enough talk.  This is an open game thread, so when Otis Smith signs a custodian to a 5 year, 100 million dollar contract, react here.

GO WIZARDS!

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