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Washington Wizards vs. Sacramento Kings: Regular Season Game 23 Open Thread

The Essentials:

Wizards (7-15) vs. Kings (10-13)
10:30 p.m.
ARCO Arena
Radio: 106.7 The Fan

Notable Kings numbers this season

15th in expected winning percentage (.483)
8th in pace (94.5 possessions per game)
T7th in offensive efficiency/offensive rating (110)
26th in defensive efficiency/defensive rating (110.5)

Pre-game links

Sactown Royalty, SB Nation's Kings Blog
Cowbell Kingdom
Kings: $1 beer night giveaway means there are very few seats left
Gameday Sacramento

Tonight's Projected Starters
Wizards vs. Kings
Gilbert Arenas
PG Tyreke Evans
DeShawn Stevenson
SG Donte Greene
Caron Butler
SF Andres Nocioni
Antawn Jamison
PF Jason Thompson
Brendan Haywood

Spencer Hawes

Getting this one up kind of early, so apologies for stuff not being filled in.

This game is on ESPN now, and that's probably because of the Kings, not the Wizards. Sacramento's been one of the league's surprise teams this season, and I think there are two major reasons for that. First is Tyreke Evans, who has been all that and then some. Coach Paul Westphal has been giving him the ball, and Evans has responded. Portland coach Nate McMillan compared him to Magic Johnson after last night's game. Magic Johnson! I have no clue who exactly will stop Evans tonight.

The other reasons, I think, is Westphal himself. The Kings have had a ton of young players, but Westphal has given them a lot of rope and they've responded. He wasn't afraid to start Donte Greene and give Omri Casspi a lot of Andres Nocioni's minutes. He isn't afraid to give Jason Thompson a lot of rope even though he still struggles with fouls a lot. Most importantly, he's put the ball in Evans hands and thrown him right into the fire. It's worked pretty damn well so far considering the lack of top-flight talent on this team (worth noting: the Kings' best player, Kevin Martin, is injured, and they're still doing this well).

Every time I watch the Kings, I'm smitten by them. They play so hard and get the most out of their talent. They lose on the road (1-10), but they're always competitive. They're lights-out at home (9-3) and have blown out some teams there too. This will not be an easy game at all.

It's also worth noting that tonight is $1 beer night at ARCO Arena, which is probably going to make the crowd way rowdier than ever. Should be interesting at least.

All in all, with the Wizards playing like they have, tonight is a tall order. (Who the heck though we'd say that for a road game against the freakin' Kings!?). I just hope we don't get blown out. Lowered expectations means less disappointment.