The Washington Times - April 16, 2008, 06:40PM
Eddie Jordan

\ The Wizards will go without Antawn Jamison (getting a well-deserved night off), Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler (both precautionary moves). The starting lineup will be DeShawn Stevenson (making consecutive start No. 250), Antonio Daniels, Dominic McGuire (making his first start), Brendan Haywood and Darius Songaila.\

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\ McGuire is coming off of a career game: Nine points and 10 rebounds and Jordan figured starting Dom would be a good way to both reward him for what he brings to the team and further his development.\

\ “He gives us that dimension we need. That small forward, defensive mindset, the shotblocking he gives you,” Jordan said. “The offensive rebounding he gives you. Obviously he’s young, he makes a lot of mistakes as a young player. But we hope to nurture him and give him a little bit of a taste of starting and see how he can carry those minutes.”\

\ Meanwhile, the Wizards were in very good spirits in the locker room before the game.\

\ Stevenson was asked about this weekends upcoming showdown with LeBron James and he gave a tempered response of, “He knows I’m serious. He kinda sounds like he doesn’t want to talk to much, so maybe he’s scared.” He was also asked about Charles Barkley’s take on the Wizards wishing for a showdown with the Cavaliers. Sir Charles said, “I think the Washington Wizards have got to be the dumbest team in the history of civilization,” for trashtalking the team with the No. 2 player in the league. Stevenson said “Are we really going to listen to a guy who said that Yao Ming wasn’t going to be in All-Star in this league? Really? Really?”\

\ Brendan Haywood warned his teammate that he couldn’t go after a Hall of Famer if he himself wasn’t a Hall of Famer, but Gilbert Arenas said it was OK as long as he was going after his thought process and not his basketball skills. Agent Zero asked exactly what Barkley had said and Haywood relayed the comment. Gil, strutting back to his locker, said “That’s cute. That’s cute. They might have the No. 2 player, but they don’t have the No. 1 end of game, end of period, end of half player. Uh-hu, know what I’m sayin’?”\

\ Haywood said “Oh, we’ve got Kobe in here?” and Arenas replied, “He does not have more end of game, end of quarter shots than me, but I like your thought process.”\

\ All joking aside the Wizards who are playing tonight remain focused on the Magic and aren’t looking ahead to the Cavs.\

\ Haywood: “We’ll be happy to focus on the playoffs when that time comes around, but at the end of the day, we’re paid to play 82 games and I think everyone’s taking this game seriously. So we’re not getting it out of the way. Even though a lot of our players aren’t playing, we still want to win this game and see our young guys develop and grow through this game.”\

\ Said Roger Mason Jr.: “This game doesn’t mean nothing. Any time you play this game, you play for love, obviously, and we’re trying to get ready for the playoffs. So guys that do play, the starters will play and maybe the guys on the bench will get more time, but that will be good because we need to fine-tune before the playoffs.”\

\ — Mike Jones