Open thread: Regular season game 5


The essentials:
Nuggets (2-3) at Wizards (0-4)
8 p.m.
Verizon Center
ESPN

Last year:
December 13: Wizards 120, Nuggets 91.
December 18: Nuggets 117, Wizards 108.

Notable Nets numbers this season (pound the salt):
18th in expected winning percentage (.465).
2nd in pace factor (99.3 possessions per game).
19th in offensive efficiency/offensive rating (103.9).
15th in defensive efficiency/defensive rating (104.9).

Notable Nets numbers last season
8th in expected winning percentage (.574).
2nd in pace factor (96.2 possessions per game).
9th in offensive efficiency/offensive rating (109.3).
9th in defensive efficiency/defensive rating (107.).

Key links
No MRI scheduled yet for Gilbert's knee
Nugg Doctor.
Solid Gold
Nugg Doctor blog preview.
Nugg Doctor game preview.
Post recap of last night
Times recap of last night
Last night's game flow (look who has the highest +-)
Nene out for 6 weeks
Competition discussion: Denver

Starting lineups:
Nuggets
PG: Chucky Atkins.
SG: Allen Iverson.
SF: Carmelo Anthony.
PF: Eduardo Najera.
C: Marcus Camby.

Wizards

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

Tonight's lines:
Nuggets at Wizards: Nuggets by 3.
Over/Under on Big 3 scoring: 62.1 points.

Apologies for not maintaining my regular output this week.  I'm just absolutely swamped with work, newspaper, and other things, so I really haven't been able to discuss all our problems.  That's why I'm so glad everyone's been talking in the diaries.  Keep up the great work there.

There's a lot to talk about with this team, namely, Gilbert's knee, Eddie Jordan's suckiness, DeShawn Steveson's disappearing act, the bench's suckiness, and the like.  I'm personally really concerned when Eddie Jordan gives lines like these.

"Nah. Gil is the one who tells us pretty much how he feels and how much he can go. He should be pretty fresh so his normal minutes are the entire first quarter and a few minutes in the second. That's normal."

It just goes to show how clueless Eddie can be sometimes.  Even now, Gilbert is complaining about knee pain, yet it's Gil who has to go to Eddie to ask about cutting down on his minutes.  In Antonio Daniels, we have someone who can spell Arenas so that Arenas doesn't have to play too much right now, yet Arenas is still playing 40 minutes a night.  Does it really have to be that way?

If Arenas misses an extended period of time, our season is toast.  It happened in 2003/04, when Arenas wasn't Arenas quite yet.  The key will be to limit his minutes to 30-35 a game, but Eddie hasn't done that yet.  It's one reason why I'm starting to really think he needs to go.  I have never really taken a stance on the issue, but if this continues, it might be time for a change.

I'm also hoping to see more of DeShawn Stevenson tonight, because there's no reason why he has to be this invisible.  He looks very out of sync, like he's always in the wrong spot offensively.  That, I think, is the main issue, and it's one another guy like Roger Mason may be able to solve.  The problem is DeShawn's the best perimeter defender we have, and when he went out in favor of AD yesterday, the Nets, specifically Vince Carter, made their comeback.  Even with DeShawn playing this poorly, he needs more than 14 minutes.

There were some positive signs from yesterday, particularly with Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler, and I expect those to continue.  The bench, though, simply has to play better.  Andray Blatche didn't have all that great of a game, and Darius Songaila was practically invisible.  They, along with Roger Mason, have to play much better than they did yesterday.

Meanwhile, Denver comes in on the heels of a blowout loss to the Celtics Wednesday.  They also learned that Nene will be out for a while (who couldn't see this coming), and with Kenyon Martin still slowly recovering, that hurts their frontcourt.  Carmelo Anthony is going to smoke Caron Butler, and I wonder about how we're going to stop Allen Iverson, but I don't think they can guard us either.  Gilbert should have a good game against the tiny Atkins/Iverson backcourt, and Carmelo has never been much of a defender.  Meanwhile, without Nene, we can hide Jamison on Eduardo Najera or Linas Kleiza.  The difficulty will be Brendan Haywood, because Camby is going to pull him away from the basket.  Hopefully, Camby isn't hitting his jumper.

Anyway, this is an open game thread, so talk about practice here.  I really am feeling a win tonight, but that might be wishful thinking.

GO WIZARDS!  

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