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Denver Nuggets vs. Washington Wizards: Regular Season Game 52 Open Thread

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The Essentials:

Nuggets (36-18) vs. Wizards (18-33)
7 p.m.
Verizon Center
Radio: 106.7 The Fan

Notable Nuggets numbers this season

T6th in expected winning percentage (.660)
5th in pace (95.1 possessions per game)
2nd in offensive efficiency/offensive rating (112.1 points/100 possessions)
16th in defensive efficiency/defensive rating (106.9 points allowed/100 possessions)

Pre-game links

Denver Stiffs, SB Nation's Nuggets Blog
Roundball Mining Company
Michael Lee talks to Al Thornton and gets a response from Josh Howard about the report that he was hung over for the Wizards-Mavericks game
Denver Stiffs' game preview
GameDay Nuggets

Tonight's Projected Starters
Nuggets vs. Wizards
Chauncey Billups PG Randy Foye
Arron Afflalo SG Mike Miller
Carmelo Anthony SF Josh Howard
Kenyon Martin PF Andray Blatche
Nene C JaVale McGee

Of all the things I noticed during pre-game tonight, the most interesting one had nothing to do with any of the players playing tonight.  No, the surprise of the night was that Gilbert Arenas' locker actually had some clothing inside of it.  Ever since Arenas' indefinite suspension was announced, his locker, which is tucked inside the upper right hand corner, was completely empty.  However, tonight, there was a practice jersey, a T-shirt and a pair of shorts inside it.  

The timing is interesting, especially considering Ernie Grunfeld's comments yesterday.  I don't know if there's any connection, nor do I know what it means for Arenas' gear to be in his locker.  It could mean nothing.  But it's certainly very interesting timing.  My understanding is Arenas can be on Wizards facilities as long as he's not there when the rest of the team is, so maybe he's starting to work out here again.  I don't know.  But I figured I'd pass this along for you all to know.

Other points from pregame:

  • Al Thornton will play tonight, though he won't start.  Flip Saunders said he'll probably be used to guard Carmelo Anthony, but otherwise he's not sure what'll happen to him.  "I don't know.  He really hasn't been able to do anything, so we'll have to see.  We'll just try to throw him out there, keep things simplified, and let him guard Carmelo a little bit."
  • Zydrunas Ilgauskas was here earlier today for his physical, which he passed, but is not in the building now and is inactive for tonight.  I'm personally doubting he plays a game here.  "We're going to keep him inactive, explore options as far as what we're going to do with that.  That's kind of where we're at right now," Saunders said.  Doesn't exactly sound like they're planning on keeping him. 
  • Flip Saunders called Denver's frontline the most athletic in the league and said that will be a challenge for Andray Blatche in particular.  " He's got to show patience in there," Saunders said about Blatche.  "When you play against a team that's more athletic, you try to do things too quick because you're afraid you're going to get shots blocked, but he still has to keep the same patience he had against [Al] Jefferson and [Kevin] Love."
  • I didn't realize this, since I missed last night's epic Nuggets-Cavs game, but apparently George Karl is still coaching.  Had I known, I would have tried to talk to him, but Rashad Mobley was in the scrum with him and is posting quotes on his Twitter account.
  • It's only been two games, but I'm blown away with a) how James Singleton makes literally every warmup jumper (he hit like 15 in a row before Gene Banks heckled him into a miss), b) how Josh Howard and Al Thornton miss so much.  I'll keep tracking this though.