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Open Thread: Regular Season Game 68

The Essentials:
Pistons (49-19) at Wizards (35-33)
8 p.m.
Verizon Center

This Year:
January 2: Pistons 106, Wizards 93

Notable Pistons numbers this season:
2nd in expected winning percentage (.741)
30th in pace factor (86.6 possessions per game)
6th in offensive efficiency/offensive rating
4th in defensive efficiency/defensive rating

Key Links (drop any others in the comments)
Detroit Bad Boys
Pistons Nation Blog
Full Court Press
Pistons Insider
Wizards cope with losses by their alma maters
TAI recaps the Florida sweep

Starting Lineups:
PG: Chauncey Billups
SG: Rip Hamiltion
SF: Tayshaun Prince
PF: Antonio McDyess
C: Rasheed Wallace

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

Tonight's Lines
Pistons at Wizards: Pistons by 3
Over/Under on Total Scoring: 196

Let's get all the jokes out now: What's up peeps?  I hope you're all having an "eggs"tra special Easter today.  I know most of you are going to ham (Ham?) it up with friends and family today, so I'll try and keep this brief.

Fingers crossed: Ivan sez Gilbert hasn't ruled himself out for tonight's game, but he hasn't said that he has ruled himself in either.  If you read the whole article you get the feeling that it's more likely that Gilbert will make his return during the Western road trip which starts Tuesday, but you never know.  He's a master of the dramatic moment and it's hard to see him not wanting to start his comeback in D.C.

Giving props, Part 1: Truth covered it well in his recap, but I think it's definitely worth a mention.  Here's what a scout had to say about Eddie Jordan's coaching to Ivan Carter:

"He's one of the best in the business at getting his guys to run and execute that system. I mean, they are very good. A lot of teams try to emulate what they do but they can't do it. I think he's doing a great job. They are one of the most organized teams in the league at both ends of the floor."
This blatant homer couldn't agree more with the scout's analysis.  Sure, Eddie can mess up his rotations sometimes, but there's only a handful of coaches in the NBA that could keep this team in the thick of the playoff chase with the injuries they've dealt with this year.  I'm not sure if his performance will get him any Coach of the Year votes, but he should be commended for the job he's done this season.

Giving props, Part 2: Last year we bashed Jarvis a lot around these parts, whether it was his dreadful shooting or his inability to set a pick, but with Detroit, Jarvis has managed to find his niche.  He hasn't had a dramatic turnaround, but his numbers are up just about all across the board and he's been a key cog to one of the best benches in the NBA.

Empty the Bench has a great look at Jarvis' role on the Pistons.

Key to the Game: In going along with talking about how Jarvis' role on the bench, the key to the game is going to be bench play.  You probably remember in the first meeting that Prada noted that the Pistons had a clear advantage in bench play:

When it was our starting five versus their starting five, I think we did fine keeping the game within reach.  It was when both teams went to their benches that this game turned.  Jason Maxiell, as I feared, completely dominated Andray Blatche on the glass, and Roger Mason and Nick Young took turns getting abused by Richard Hamilton
I know bench play has been a cop out key to the game most of the season, but especially against a team like Detroit, bench play is critical.

This is an open thread, so see how many player you can find in this boxscore that went on to become GMs.


Update [2008-3-23 20:17:37 by Pradamaster]: Arenas is out, thanks to a last-minute decision by the Wizards' doctors to not clear him to play. Frankly, I understand his anger. Why couldn't the team doctors have been more communicative with him, so that he would know for sure when he was coming back? Why did they pull the plug on him late in the process?

Frankly, why are we still waiting for his return in the first place? Can't we let him go out there and see how he feels? What's the harm in doing that?

HT: Aldo.