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GAME 23 at Washington, Prevew & Game Thread

Another early one.

WASHINGTON WIZARDS   12-10, 110.7 ORtg (# 9), 109.4 DRtg (#23), 91.0 Pace (#13)
SACRAMENTO KINGS      9-13, 106.5 ORtg (#15), 109.9 DRtg (#25), 92.2 Pace (#11)

On Washington:
You can throw most of what we know about the Zards out the window since Gilbert Arenas and Antonio Daniels are out. Roger Mason will likely start at the point; expect a healthy dose of exciting rook Nick Young, too. You wouldn't expect either to significantly outplay Beno Udrih (who actually got a good dose of rest last night as his defense was uneven). Caron Butler will be the best player on the court; Antawn Jamison ain't far behind. The guy Sacramento wants/need to limit is Brendan Haywood (who happens to be on my fantasy team, dammit). Haywood's offense comes and goes, but he's a terrific shotblocker and rebounder, and he's the type of athlete whom gives Brad Miller trouble.

This would actually be the perfect game to go small for defensive purposes, but I surmise the same starting lineup will come out at the tip. Because of that, it's critical to employ the same emphasis on ball movement toward the interior as we saw in Philadelphia. Mikki Moore can have an even bigger game without a Reggie Evans type hanging around. Of course, back-to-back 20-point games from Mikki might be stretching it... the opportunity is there, though.

If the offense is as clean as it was most of last night, Sactown should be able to score regularly. Again, that means getting the ball inside, whether by penetration or ball movement. Miller's the key, regardless -- his outside shot sets up both his own drives and the space needed from Udrih and John Salmons to slip through. If he can keep it up, the Kings should at least be able to stay within sight of a Washington offense which should streak a bit but end up roses.

I suspect Ron Artest will guard Butler, which makes Jamison a huge threat. If both those fellows go off, it might be difficult for the Kings to keep up. If Ron-Ron can limit Butler to a reasonable amount of points and assists, though, we should have an interesting game. Hell, should be an interesting game nonetheless.

4 pm starts on (TiVo alert) News10. Enjoy.

Go Kings.