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Open Thread: Washington Wizards vs. Detroit Pistons, Regular Season Game 19

The Essentials:

Wizards (7-11) vs. Pistons (7-12)
6 p.m.
Palace of Auburn Hills
Radio: 106.7 The Fan

Notable Pistons numbers this season

18th in expected winning percentage (.422)
29th in pace (87.6 possessions per game)
22nd in offensive efficiency/offensive rating (105.3)
20th in defensive efficiency/defensive rating (107.7)

Pre-game links

Motown String Music, SB Nation's Detroit Pistons blog
Piston Powered, Detroit Pistons blog
Detroit Bad Boys
Full Court Press with Patrick Hayes
Pistons Insider
Pistons Insider game preview
Michael Lee: The other side: Pistons
GameDay Detroit

Tonight's Projected Starters
Wizards vs. Pistons
Gilbert Arenas
PG Rodney Stuckey
Nick Young
SG Chucky Atkins
Caron Butler
SF Jonas Jerekbo
Antawn Jamison
PF Jason Maxiell
Brendan Haywood
C Ben Wallace

Sidenote: I have a dinner event I need to be at, and while the game might be playing there, it's also possible that I'll miss this one. Just a heads-up.

I showed that clip of the Pistons introductions to show just how far this franchise has fallen. Maybe not in the win-loss record -- Detroit has a solid point differential -- but the stands are empty and the team is really uninteresting. They're now bringing both their marquee free agents -- Ben Gordon and Charlie Villaneuva -- off the bench for Chucky Atkins (yes, that Chucky Atkins) and Jason Maxiell. Gordon is playing hurt, but that's pretty unbelievable. They're still missing Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince, both of who do not look nearly as attractive as players right now.

Detroit is coming off a nice home win over Milwaukee, where they slowed Brandon Jennings. They, of course, still pose problems with their backcourt speed, and their game is to beat you off the dribble. Last time these two teams played, the Wizards went to a zone because they couldn't guard the Pistons' guards. Maybe having Nick Young in instead of Mike Miller helps there.

I imagine we'll see the Pistons go really small, and when that happens, Caron Butler needs post touches. Desperately.