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Open Thread: Washington Wizards vs. San Antonio Spurs, Regular Season Game 12

The Essentials:

Wizards (3-8) vs. Spurs (4-6)
8:30 p.m.
AT&T Center
Radio: 106.7 The Fan

Notable early Spurs numbers this season

15th in expected winning percentage (.514)
27th in pace (90 possessions per game)
5th in offensive efficiency/offensive rating (109.1)
22nd in defensive efficiency/defensive rating (108.7)

Notable Spurs numbers last season

7th in expected winning percentage (.635)
26th in pace (88.4 possessions per game)
13th in offensive efficiency/offensive rating (108.5)
5th in defensive efficiency/defensive rating (104.3)

Pre-game links

Pounding The Rock, SB Nation's Spurs Blog
48 Minutes of Hell, a Spurs blog
Project Spurs
Pounding the Rock's game thread
San Antonio Express-News: Manu Ginobili out, Tony Parker day-to-day (so probably out)
Michael Lee: The Other Side: Spurs
GameDay Spurs

Tonight's Projected Starters
Wizards vs. Spurs
Gilbert Arenas
PG George Hill
Mike Miller
SG Keith Bogans
Caron Butler
SF "Thomas" Jefferson
Antawn Jamison
PF The man we passed on for $2.5 million
Brendan Haywood
C Tim Duncan

Note: Jake's chatting on Comcast SportsNet tonight. Not sure where the chat link is (Ed. Note: It's right here. Check in every once in a while to ask me how bitter I am about DeJuan Blair. -Jake), but go to their web site to find him. Also, I'm bolting early tonight because I have friends in town I need to see - so no post-game thread tonight. I also might not recap this game much tomorrow, so feel free to post your own recap if you slog your way through the entire game, since mine will probably mostly just be stats.

Boy do the Wizards catch a break tonight. They haven't won in San Antonio since 1999, but they'll likely face a very depleted, struggling Spurs team tonight. Manu Ginobili definitely won't play, and it's looking like Tony Parker won't either, leaving San Antonio with a three-man backcourt rotation of George Hill, Keith Bogans and Roger Mason.

That makes San Antonio much less imposing. They're only 4-6, but I wouldn't worry too much -- they've basically played without their whole arsenal every game. That hasn't stopped Spurs fans from panicking (see the PtR game thread - wow), but they pull this act every year. I am very shocked, though, to see how low San Antonio ranks on defense. That's really strange. I don't have much of an explanation either -- maybe it's the lack of a wing stopper, or age catching up to Duncan. Weird.

Tonight offers the first chance to see DeJuan Blair, aka the guy we didn't want for free. I don't want to ignite the Blair flames, but tonight should be an interesting test to see just how good he really is. Antawn Jamison needs to be sure he's boxing out instead of just rebounding in traffic.

Otherwise, let's hope our defense is better. Keep them off the three-point line, because it'll be a struggle for them to score otherwise.