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Open Thread and Contest: 52

Regular Season Game 52
Kings (23-29) at Wizards (30-21)
Verizon Center
7 PM

Previous Results: Wizards 126, Kings 119

This game preview may end up being irrelevant, as you'll probably find no team with more players involved in trade rumors than the Kings.  Mike Bibby has been rumored to go to Cleveland, Shareef Abdur-Rahim is rumored to go to Chicago, and Ron Artest is rumored to go all over the place.  It wouldn't shock me to see all 3 of those guys here for tonight's game, but you never know.

If they all stick around, then the Wizards will see your classic semi-mediocre Western Conference team.  Sacramento is better than Minnesota, despite their record.  The Kings' expected winning percentage is close to .500, and they've lost a lot of close games, particularly recently.  This makes them better than Minnesota, which, considering the game the other night, isn't saying much.  

The Wizards are going to have trouble containing Kevin Martin, who's become one of the premier young players in the game.  He was plucked with the 26th pick in the first round of the 2004 draft, and after having a coming out of sorts in last year's playoffs, he's become Sacramento's best player.  Martin reminds me of Reggie Miller, down to the funky release and everything.  Luckily for the Wizards, DeShawn Stevenson is their best perimeter defender, but he was slow coming around screens yesterday, which is where Martin does his best work.  

The Wizards also will likely have to worry about Ron Artest.  Caron Butler is going to have his hands full with the stronger Artest on both ends of the floor.  The hope is that Artest will shoot lots of jumpers instead of using his superior strength inside.  

On the other end, Sacramento struggled to defend Antawn Jamison in the last matchup.  Their power forwards are all of the traditional variety, which isn't horrible, except that their center, Brad Miller, isn't a shot blocker.  With Jamison out, however, Gilbert Arenas is going to have to be big again, which shoud happen if Mike Bibby is guarding him.  Bibby's defense leaves a lot to be desired.

Kings blogs: Sactown Royalty is all you need.

Your lines for tonight.

Kings at Wizards: Wizards by 5.
Over/Under on Big 2: 40.3 points.

This is an open game thread, so all game comments go here, and all trade deadline comments go here.