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Detroit Pistons vs. Washington Wizards: Regular Season Game 36 Open Thread

The Essentials:

Pistons (11-25) vs. Wizards (12-23)
7 p.m.
Verizon Center
Radio: 106.7 The Fan

Notable Pistons numbers this season

28th in expected winning percentage (.298)
29th in pace (88.4 possessions per game)
24th in offensive efficiency/offensive rating (103.2)
24th in defensive efficiency/defensive rating (109.7)

Pre-game links

Detroit Bad Boys, SB Nation's Detroit Pistons blog
Piston Powered, Detroit Pistons blog
Full Court Press with Patrick Hayes
Pistons Insider
GameDay Pistons

Tonight's Projected Starters
Pistons vs. Wizards
Rodney Stuckey PG Randy Foye
Rip Hamilton SG Nick Young
Jonas Jerekbo
SF Caron Butler
Chris Wilcox PF Antawn Jamison
Ben Wallace C Brendan Haywood

UPDATE: Mike Miller's out for tonight and possibly the whole week, per Michael Lee.

Reminder: I'm not going tonight because I was too slow on my credential request. Read Truth About It for first-hand coverage. My bad all.

Even without the venerable Andray Blatche, this game should be ours. Detroit is absolutely reeling, having lost 13 in a row. They also played last night in Chicago. A win here, which would give Flip Saunders career win #600, is definitely expected.

I'm really not sure what happened to the Pistons. Actually, I have a strong idea, but the theory seems counterintuitive. See, when Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince were hurt, they were better because everyone had defined roles. The three-guard rotation of Stuckey, Ben Gordon and Will Bynum was dynamite (or "Bynamite," as Pistons fans would say). They were scrappy. They competed. But then, all of a sudden, Hamilton and Prince came back expecting their old spots in the lineup back. Once those spots were given, all chemistry really fell apart, and the team became one playing way worse than the sum of its parts. This stat from Detroit Bad Boys today was shocking -- the Pistons are 1-13 since Hamilton came back, and the one game they won was one where he didn't start. My goodness. They can't really trade him either, because he is massively overpaid thanks to a contract extension Joe Dumars stupidly gave him last year.

This isn't all Rip's fault, mind you, but it's symbolic of a team in transition. The Pistons know they're a jumbled mess, and they're playing like it. Then again, if they're a jumbled mess, I'm not sure what that makes the Wizards.