Pump Up Music: Mei-lwun (Nelly vs. Skynyrd) -- "Sweet Home Country Grammar"
The Big Picture: If any team needs to blow itself up and begin the rebuilding process, it's the Wizards. They had a slim hope of playoff contention this year, if Gilbert Arenas returned to something approximating his previous form and everyone else meshed around that newish element. Unfortunately, that all went to hell with the Gun Incident, leaving the Wiz with the same team they've had the past couple years: Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison, and a few moderately interesting parts.
The Wizards are a lot like the Bobcats, in the sense that the current roster won't win a championship, and there's no use pretending they might, but different in that, politically, they can afford to sell off one of Butler or Jamison -- perhaps even both -- and start anew. It's kind of sad for DC fans, because they've got a core that could be superb supporting players to a superstar, but now they could see Jamison sent to Cleveland to be that guy for another team.
For the Cats, Tyson Chandler may make his return to the floor tonight. Don't expect much more than a Diopian performance. Foot problems are magnitudes worse for seven foot dudes than they are for mere sub-six-foot mortals like you and me.
Key to Victory: As per usual, Stephen Jackson presents a matchup problem for the opposition. If Butler guards him, that's not too much of an issue, but it means that Mike Miller is likely "guarding" Gerald Wallace. If the Wiz go to a more defensive lineup, with Nick Young at the two and Butler on Wallace, that's probably more to Flip Saunders's liking, but it also plays into the Cats' hands, because Miller causes all sorts of matchup problems himself on offense that Young simply can't. When Miller's healthy, he's played far more minutes, so it will be interesting to see if Saunders thinks he can challenge the Bobcats' defense, or if he would rather try to suppress the Cats' already mediocre offense even further.