Regular Season Game 35
Wizards (20-14) at Hornets (13-22)
ESPN and CSN
With all the hardship the city of New Orleans has suffered in the past two years, it's simply not fair what the Hornets have had to deal with this season. What started as a promising season has derailed thanks to injuries to four of their top five players. First, it was David West going out. Then, Bobby Jackson went down (although this shouldn't be a surprise). Peja Stojakovic, their marquee free agent signing then went down with a back injury, and had surgery on it recently, keeping him out for nearly the rest of the season. Finally, the news got even worse, as franchise player Chris Paul went down with a severely sprained ankle. All four are out tonight for New Orleans, a huge break for the Wizards. Shorthanded doesn't even begin to describe New Orleans' state right now.
However, while the Wizards should win this one easily, victory is by no means a sure thing. Nearly a month ago, the Wizards came into Denver to play a Nuggets team decimated by their brawl with the Knicks the previous weekend. A win seemed all but ensured, but instead, the Wizards fell way behind early and never made it all the way back. With a huge matchup at San Antonio looming tomorrow, the Wizards have to be very careful not to look past tonight's game. Even with all those stars out, New Orleans has some frisky players, including Janeero Pargo, a player Wizards fans should remember from Game 5 of the 2005 playoff series against the Bulls.
Despite all this, as long as the Wizards bring it early, they should win. It would be nice to blow the Hornets out in the first half so the starters can rest up for tomorrow's tilt against the Spurs, but this game is by no means a sure thing.
Your lines for tonight.
Wizards at Hornets: Wizards by 7.
Over/Under on Big 3: 70.6 points.
As a reminder, this is an open game thread, so any thoughts on how devastating a healthy Chris Paul would have been on the Wizards atrocious perimeter defense go here.
Update [2007-1-12 04:37:00 by Pradamaster]: The game is still on despite some horrible weather in the Oklahoma City area, according to ESPN NEWS.