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Open thread: Regular season game 54

I'm kind of in the middle of something, but I'll return with a full game preview before 7:30 (promise!).  For now, use this space to discuss the game tonight, since discussion has already begun in other locations.

As mentioned earlier, none of Cleveland's new players are going to go tonight.  They'll have only 8 players available, and two are recent call-ups from the D League.

Lines are Cavs by 3 and 189 on the total points.

Update [2008-2-22 17:12:52 by Pradamaster]: Here's a brief preview. I'd throw up all the numbers, but since the Cavs made such a big trade yesterday, they probably won't be relevant.

First, some key links for today's game:

Friday Update [Wizards Insider].
Skeleton Crew [Cleveland Plain Dealer].
Ball Movements [Hardwood Paroxysm].
No Forgetting That Romp [Washington Times].
NBA 3 Way Deal Good for Most [Knickerblogger].
Disappearing Defense [Washington Post].
Coach Jordan: Why do you hate the Wizards' rookies? [Les Bullez].

The key piece of news is that not only will Caron miss the game, but AD might as well, at least according to the first Wizards Insider link. Ivan says AD is a "game-time decision."

The worse news on Butler is he might miss even more time, because Eddie insists on having Butler go through a full practice before he plays. We have a game against Charlotte tomorrow before hitting the road to play a back-to-back against New Orleans and Houston Monday and Tuesday. That leaves Sunday as a travel day, and Eddie doesn't have his team practice on back-to-backs. If Eddie were to stick to his policy, then Butler will miss at least the next three games. That's not good. I sincerely hope Eddie lets him try playing against Charlotte and limit his minutes depending on how he feels. Of those three teams, the Bobcats are the least powerful, so it might be a good chance to let Caron get his rhythm back.

Otherwise, the Times and Post stories focus on what has changed since the last time these two teams played, when Cleveland crushed us by 36. That result was very concerning then, and in retrospect, it's still really concerning. That was a key test for our healthy team, and we failed it tremendously. Now that Cleveland has basically no players left, tonight's a good time to return the favor.

Speaking of, the Cavs will play LeBron James, Damon Jones, Eric Snow, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Dwayne Jones, Devin Brown, and the two D-Leagers tonight. This means we should expect a lot of LeBron and nobody else, which is why it sucks doubly to not have Caron in the lineup tonight. It's not really Caron's defense, which is pretty good against LeBron, if not good against everyone else. It's his offense, and his ability to make LeBron work on that end of the court. My guess is LeBron's going the distance tonight, so it'll be important for Andray Blatche to be active on the glass, because it'll eventually tire LeBron out.

On that note, I want to see whoever's playing the point guard to emphasize pushing the ball on rebounds. Cleveland is an athletic team, but all of their athletes are injured, and even when they were healthy, they were only playing at the 17th-fastest pace in the league. Their transition defense has been subpar this year after being so good last season, so I think we can capitalize with some easy looks.

I'm also looking for a big game from Jamison. Drew Gooden usually plays him well, particularly on the offensive end, where he's had some of his best games against us. Without Gooden, the Cavs will have to put Dwayne Jones on Antawn, so Antawn should be assertive and score on him.

Anyway, this is an open game thread, so think about what this guy should do with his site here.