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Open Thread: Regular Season Game 32

The essentials:
Sonics (9-23) at Wizards (16-15)
1 p.m.
Verizon Center

Last year:
February 5: Wizards 118, Sonics 108
March 21: Wizards 108, Sonics 106

Notable Sonics numbers this season:
27th in expected winning percentage (.285).
6th in pace factor (95.6 possessions per game).
27th in offensive efficiency/offensive rating (101.8)
22nd in defensive efficiency/defensive rating (108.7).

Key links (drop any others in the comments)
Sonics Central
Save Our Sonics
Sonics Central Blog Preview

Truth About It makes the case for Butler and Jamison to make the All-Star Game

Why The Blowtorch likes the Sonics

Gilbert blogs...
And he talks to the media

Starting lineups:
PG: Earl Watson
SG: Kevin Durant
SF: Jeff Green
PF: Nick Collison
C: Kurt Thomas

PG: Antonio Daniels
SG: DeShawn Stevenson
SF: Caron Butler
PF: Antawn Jamison
C: Brendan Haywood

Tonight's lines:
Sonics at Wizards:
Wizards by 9.
Over/Under on Big 2 scoring: 43.9 points.

Most days, I'm lucky if I can spell extensive correctly but I'll try and give this a shot.

Revenge: A Washington team is taking on a team from Seattle, need I say more?

Rebuilding Mode: Just in case no one saw it coming beforehand, trading Ray Allen for Delonte West and Jeff Green the official announcement that the Sonics were in the process of starting over with young talent.  The wins aren't exactly flying in yet, but the foundation is certainly there as evidenced by Kevin Durant winning Rookie of the Month for December and by Jeff Green recently replacing Damien Wilkins in the starting lineup.  There's still a ways to go, but in a few years this is going to be a dangerous team.  Think of them as a Western version of Atlanta (with slightly better point guard play) circa 2005.

Gilbert sighting: Gilbert Arenas showed up at practice yesterday and talked about his rehab progress.  He still hasn't set a definite date for his return but Ivan Carter gets the feeling that he'll be back this season:

Translation from a guy who has covered Gil for three years: He's coming back as soon as he thinks the knee is sound. No way I see him sitting out all the way until next year. The guy misses it too much. And, if he does come back in good shape, this will suddenly become the most dangerous team in the East after Boston and Detroit (in my humble opinion) Caron Butler is playing the best ball of his life. Ditto for Antawn Jamison. We've seen enough of the "new" Brendan Haywood to project that he's not going to slide back into old ways. He's playing very well as is Daniels, Mason, and at times, Blatche.

Assuming that Gilbert takes until mid March to see game action, he'd have between 15 and 20 games to help with the playoff push, get his legs back, hone his shot and get ready for the playoffs.

Home Cookin': Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, and Delonte West are all D.C. natives, so today's game will serve as a homecoming of sorts for them.  For Kevin, the game serves as a homecoming, an opportunity to watch a basketball team in the nation's capital that doesn't stink, and as a chance to throw a party. Also, let's not forget that Chris Wilcox played nearby with the Terps, so even though it's a long trip for Seattle they're familiar with the territory.

Speaking of Wilcox...: He dislocated his pinkie finger during their loss to the Suns on Thursday night and he might not be playing today.  ESPN's fantasy report says that he's out for today's game but the preview on the Sonics' website says that he's a game-time decision.

So what's the key today?: The Wizards have to defend the perimeter because the Sonics have an array of three point shooters that can light it up if left open.   As long as the Wizards can do that (and throw some dumbells at Kevin Durant) the Wizards should be fine.

As always, this is an open thread, so leave your guesses for why I used an Alton Lister photo here.