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Dallas Mavericks vs. Washington Wizards: Preseason Game 2 Open Thread

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The Essentials:

Mavericks (50-32 last season) vs. Wizards (19-63)
7:00 p.m.
Verizon Center
TV: Comcast SportsNet, NBATV
Radio: 106.7 The Fan

Notable Mavericks numbers last season

10th in expected winning percentage (.568)
16th in pace (91.5 possessions per game)
5th in offensive efficiency/offensive rating (110.5)
17th in defensive efficiency/defensive rating (108.4)

Pre-game links

Mavs Moneyball, SB Nation's Dallas Mavericks blog
The Two Man Game, Dallas Mavericks blog
DallasBasketball.com, the source for top-notch first-hand Dallas Mavericks news and analysis
Mavs Moneyball's season preview
NBAMate's Mavericks season preview
The Two Man Game's season preview
Truth About It's pre-game Q&A with The Two Man Game

Tonight's Projected Starters
Mavericks vs. Wizards
Jason Kidd
PG Gilbert Arenas
Matt Carroll
SG DeShawn Stevenson
Shawn Marion
SF Caron Butler
Dirk Nowitzki
PF Antawn Jamison
Drew Gooden
C Brendan Haywood

The team the Wizards play in the first game of the regular season comes into town today for the only preseason game at Verizon Center. I'll be there in the press area, though I won't be Twittering as much because the game will be on TV (Comcast SportsNet at 7 p.m.).

No word yet on whether Gilbert Arenas will play, but I'm going to assume the answer is a) yes and b) if so, not for as long as he did against the Grizzlies.

Dallas will be without Josh Howard and Tim Thomas tonight. Howard apparently is still having problems with his ankle (in other news, the sky is blue) and Thomas has a knee injury that's keeping him out for a few weeks. Shawn Marion didn't play in the opening preseason game, and Jason Kidd left practice early yesterday because he turned his ankle, but I haven't read anything that suggests those guys will sit tonight, so I assume they're playing.

What to look out for tonight? Rebounding was clearly a problem against Memphis on Tuesday, and the Wizards must now go up against Erick Dampier, who may be overpaid, but is also perhaps the league's best offensive rebounder. Haywood is going to have to do a much better job rebounding tonight, and if he has to help on dribble penetration, everybody else needs to gang rebound. Including the guards. Of course, if Drew Gooden really is starting at center, then this becomes less of a problem for the Wizards, even though Gooden himself is a pretty good rebounder. (By the way, Drew Gooden at center? Really? Does Dallas want to give up 115 points a game?)

Otherwise, the one interesting matchup not listed there is Nick Young coming off the bench to play Jason Terry. O.J. Mayo may have the recognition, but Terry is a much bigger threat to defend. Flip Saunders said at practice yesterday that he wants to give Young the chance to chase Terry around, so we'll see how Young does with that test. Trust me, it's a greater test than O.J. Mayo.

This is an open game thread, so duck when Shawn Marion launches any three-pointers.

(A quick note: since activity on this thread will likely be greater than on Tuesday's thread (with the game being on TV and all), I'm opening up a new thread for the second half to account for the possibility that the first one might become overloaded with comments, thereby slowing down the conversation. It'll open at 8:30 p.m., which might be before or after the beginning of the second half, but is close enough considering I likely won't be able to open a thread on site. I will do this for most regular-season games, and if activity picks up even more, I might break the threads down into quarters. We'll see how it goes this time around).