The Washington Times - February 27, 2009, 05:11PM

As they play host to the Chicago Bulls, the Wizards tonight will play in front of a sitting president for only the third time in history. Believe it or not Barack Obama follows only Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton as presidents that have attended Bullets/Wizards games in the District.



“I told the fellas to enjoy the atmosphere. ‘This should be one of the highlights that you might have in your career. Hopefully you’ll chances for other NBA highlights: Championships, playoffs, all-star games, but certainly few people can say they’ve had the experience of playing in front of the president of the United States, but respond to it and be a part of the moment.’”


In other words, don’t come out and lay an egg.


Andray Blatche said he was sure it will be exciting to play in front of Obama, but that he won’t hold it against the president that he is a Bulls fan.


“He is what he is. He’s going to be what he’s going to be,” Blatche joked. “If we wants to stay with the Bulls, stay with the Bulls. But, we’ll have to teach him a lesson today. He’s going to try to come here his first day and think the Bulls are going to win. I feel bad, but it’s something that’s got to be done.”


As far as the Bulls go, Tapscott said he liked the Bulls’ trade to upgrade their bench with the additions of experienced veterans Brad Miller and John Salmons and believes that the Wizards will have their work cut out for them.


The Bulls are expected to start Luol Deng, Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah in the frontcourt and Ben Gordon and Derrick Rose in the backcourt. The Wizards will stick with the same starting lineup of Dominic McGuire, Antawn Jamison and Darius Songaila up front and Caron Butler and Mike James at the gaurd spots.


In sticking to his word in regards to scripting the pre-game warmups to help his team come out with better mental focus, Ed Tapscott said he was on the court during pre-game warmups and instructed his younger players to work with the assistant coaches and be sure to be mentally preparing themselves for better execution than they put forth on Wednesday night.


In other news, I grabbed DeShawn Stevenson in the locker room and asked how his back was doing.


“It’s not getting any better,” he said. “They’ve still got me on drugs, I went and saw a specialist the other day. I don’t know, man.”


Stevenson, who has been doing limited work on the practice court, said the treatment he’s been receiving has involved different back movements, but it’s not working. He said after seeing the specialist he’s contemplating surgery to repair the slipped disc in his back and has been told that if he has surgery in March, he would be back to basketball activities by May.


“I’ve gotta see. But it’s looking like it,” Stevenson, who has missed 25 of the last 27 games, said on whether he’ll have the surgery or not.