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Atlanta Hawks vs. Washington Wizards: Preseason Game 4 Open Thread

The Essentials:

Hawks (0-2, 53-29) at Wizards (2-1, 26-56)
7:00 p.m.
Verizon Center
Radio: 106.7 The Fan

Notable Hawks numbers last season

6th in expected winning percentage (.658)
27th in pace factor (90.1 possessions per game
2nd in offensive efficiency (111.8 points/100 possessions)
13th in defensive efficiency (106.7 points/100 possessions

Tonight's Starters
Hawks vs. Wizards
Mike Bibby PG John Wall (!!!)
Jordan Crawford SG Kirk Hinrich
Joe Johnson SF Nick Young
Josh Smith PF Andray Blatche

Al Horford


Yi Jianlian

I'm working on an SB Nation D.C. story on Yi Jianlian, so before the game, I was asking Flip Saunders some questions about him for the story. During his answers, I thought he made a pretty loud statement about where JaVale McGee currently stands on this roster. In the middle of praising Yi, Saunders had this to say about McGee.

"JaVale has to start doing more little things. He looks a lot for the spectacular, but as I told our guys at the beginning of the year, we need a lot of substance, not as much style. We need more substance that style."

Again, this was in the middle of a question specifically about Yi Jianlian. Why would Flip specifically call out JaVale like that? Reading between the lines a bit, it seemed like he's trying to send a message to JaVale. True to form, it's Yi, and not McGee, that will get the start at center tonight.

Other stuff:

  • Sorry guys, Gilbert Arenas isn't playing tonight. Saunders said "his knee is acting up," so he'll sit. "We had two hard days of practice, so it's a little sore and stiff as far as today. At least that's what he said to me at shootaround. So based on that, I don't think he'll play." Seems like odd timing, but it's also the preseason. Arenas was hanging around and talking to some people, including John Wall, before the game.
  • Nick Young will start in his place. Saunders said he wanted to give Young an opportunity because he scored well against the Bulls. He'll match up with Joe Johnson tonight.
  • Josh Howard, by the way, looks really good. He was working out with the rest of the team before the game, and it didn't seem like he was limping around much. He had a small sleeve on below his knee, but he was moving as if he was healthy.
  • Saunders said this was the first time in 15 years where he doesn't know the team's starting lineup this late in training camp. He said he told the team this at shootaround.
  • Sam Cassell was pretty intense during pre-game drills, working particularly closely with John Wall, Lester Hudson and Josh Howard. I saw him working on different pick and roll formations and reads with those guys, and of course he was especially vocal with Wall. My favorite Cassell line from this morning? As Nick Young walked onto the court, Cassell shouted "Time to get better!"

CJ and I will both be giving you observations from tonight for those of you who can't watch.