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New Orleans Hornets vs. Washington Wizards: Regular Season Game 35 Open Thread

The Essentials:

Hornets (18-16) vs. Wizards (12-22)
1 p.m.
Verizon Center
Radio: 106.7 The Fan

Notable Hornets numbers this season

21st in expected winning percentage (.426)
20th in pace (91.9 possessions per game)
21st in offensive efficiency/offensive rating (105.9)
20th in defensive efficiency/defensive rating (108.2)

Pre-game links

At The Hive, SB Nation's Hornets Blog
Hornets 24/7
Hornets Hype
GameDay Hornets

Tonight's Projected Starters
Hornets vs. Wizards
Chris Paul PG Randy Foye
Devin Brown SG Mike Miller
Peja Stojakovic SF Caron Butler
David West PF Antawn Jamison
Emeka Okafor C Brendan Haywood

A couple quick notes from pregame:

  • Mike Miller's injured hip was sore overnight, and Flip Saunders said he was questionable for tonight's game. "Mike's real sore this morning," Saunders said. But Miller himself said he's going to play, and he's listed as the starting shooting guard. "I'm going to play until they make me not play," he said.
  • I got couple interesting quotes from Flip Saunders about the offensive approach in the wake of Gilbert Arenas' absence. It doesn't sound like too much is going to change. "We run the same stuff that we ran before. Randy can still create and do things, as Earl can, so our plays aren't going to change," Saunders said. We maybe will not do as much open court plays and we won't have the ability to knock down as many threes in transition."
  • Later, I asked him about shot distribution and whether that changes at all, and he said,"I don't run an offense to get guys shots. I run an offense for a team to have success. Depending on who we play against, it's not as much a matter of our guys, it's a matter of what's a weakness for the other team, and we try to exploit that weakness."
  • I've been getting some quotes from players about how their approach and their mindset changes with Gilbert Arenas out. On Friday, I spoke to Antawn Jamison about it. Today, I spoke to Miller, who obviously wasn't around when Gil last went out. Miller admitted that his approach and the rest of the team's approach changes. "Well, it's got to be different. You're talking about a guy who averages 20 and 8. It's going to be a different approach." He added that what has to change is that more guys need to be making plays for each other rather than waiting on Gil to set everyone up.
  • Many have criticized the Wizards for playing Miller when he was clearly hurt. Saunders addressed this today:"I'm not a trainer. If I see a guy on the bench, he's going to play. If a guy's sore and tired, they should tell me and get out. I don't judge players, I don't judge injuries."
  • You might have noticed Miller helping his teammates up and huddling them up constantly in the Orlando game. I asked him about this before the game. "We got to come together, and any way I can show that to bring guys together, [I'll do]. I think a lot of that stuff has a domino effect. It's the same thing about passing the ball. If you can show you care for each other out there, and there's one thing you gotta do and that's win, that's all I want to do right now. I think a lot of this stuff will pass if we win."
  • Finally, today marks the return of Kyle's favorite player, Darius Songaila. Songaila was catching up with old teammates before the game. Here's a picture of him with DeShawn Stevenson and Andray Blatche

UPDATE: More Songaila photos below the jump. Kyle talked to him before the game and will write up something about it later.