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Open Thread and Contest: Game 26

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Regular Season Game 26
Wizards (13-12) at Suns (18-6)
America West Arena
10:30 PM
ESPN

This road trip was shaping up to be an extremely difficult one, but for the fourth straight game, the Wizards are catching a break.  First, it was Lamar Odom being out in LA.  Then, it was the suspensions robbing the Nuggets of their best players.  Yesterday, it was Ron Artest's late scratch and the ensuing problems that followed.  Tonight, the Suns are stuck in Denver and may not make it back to Phoenix in time.  If they do, you can bet that the Suns will be tired and rusty.

Still, the Suns have won 15 in a row and are dominating the league.  They may be the only team in the league with more offensive firepower than the Wizards, and they're a much better club defensively.  I can't imagine any way that the Wizards stop Steve Nash and his gang.  Phoenix swings the ball so quickly, and the Wizards struggle when teams move the ball on them.  It's the worst matchup imaginable.  

Of course, this game is exciting because of Gilbert Arenas' promise to drop 50 on Mike D'Antoni and Nate McMillan after they helped cut him from the Olympic team.  Phoenix allows opposing point guards to have a 17.9 PER, which is highest among each position, so I expect Arenas to have a huge game.  The problem is that the Suns are perfectly okay with having one guy dominate the ball.  If you read Seven Seconds or Less (incredible book, by the way), you hear all the time about their strategy to force Kobe Bryant to beat them in the playoffs.  If Arenas goes for 50, it probably will play into the Suns hands.

This means that the Wizards need to post up Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison more often.  They haven't posted Jamison up much this year, but they did so against the Kings with some success.  There needs to be more of that, because their strength will draw fouls and slow down the game.

Suns Blogs: Bright Side of the Sun, The Rising Suns, Phoenix Suns on Fire.

Here are your lines for tonight.

Wizards vs. Suns: Suns by 11
Over/Under on Big 3: 68 points

This is an open game thread, so if you have a comment on the game at any time, post it here.