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Open thread and contest: Game 73

Regular Season Game 73
Wizards (39-33) at Bobcats (28-46)
Charlotte Bobcats Arena
7 PM

Previous Results:
Wizards 121, Bobcats 109.
Wizards 114, Bobcats 107.

Life after Butler begins with a home and home against the pesky Charlotte Bobcats.  Charlotte hasn't improved by leaps and bounds this year, but they already have more wins than any year in their history.  There's a young core in place, led by Emeka Okafor, Adam Morrison, Raymond Felton, Matt Carroll, and the surprising Walter Hermann.  

Unfortunately, a couple things haven't turned out well for Charlotte this year.  While Okafor has rebounded from an injury-plagued 2005/06, Felton and Morrison haven't been as good as advertised.  Felton is shooting only 37 percent from the field, and his PER is down a full point from last season.  Morrison has struggled mightly with his shot, and he's been awful in nearly every other aspect of the game.

The prevailing theme in both of the previous two games is that the Wizards will let Charlotte hang around before winning fairly comfortably.  They actually trailed for most of the first half in the last victory before rallying for the win.

Jarvis Hayes is expected to start for Caron Butler tonight, and with Andray Blatche out for another week, it's basically a no-brainer.  This, however, does not sound good.  

Jarvis Hayes, who has swung between the guard and forward positions all season, will replace Butler as a starter tonight against Charlotte. For other opponents Coach Eddie Jordan may opt to go with a larger lineup that would include either 6-foot-8 inch Michael Ruffin or 6-9 Darius Songaila.

Playing either one of those guys alongside Antawn Jamison is a recipe for disaster.  Jamison needs to play alongside better defenders.  Otherwise, Gerald Wallace, who abused Caron Butler in the last matchup, is going to have his way.  I'd rather see a three-guard lineup of Arenas, Daniels, and Stevenson than see Songaila/Ruffin alonside Jamison and Etan Thomas.

Bobcat blogs: Bobcat Bonfire, The Charlotte Blogcat.

Your lines for tonight (remember to make your picks!):

Wizards at Bobcats: Wizards by 1.5.
Over/Under on Big 2: 48.4 points.

This is an open game thread, so joke about the impending Okafor for Zach Randolph trade that MJ will pull off.