TV: NBA TV
- Andre Miller makes his Washington Wizards debut tonight against the New Orleans Pelicans. The Wizards (26-28) acquired the veteran point guard from the Nuggets on Thursday before the NBA’s trade deadline in a three-team swap that sent Jan Vesely to Denver and Eric Maynor the Philadelphia 76ers. The 37-year-old Miller has practiced twice with the team and will immediately serve as John Wall’s backup. “We’re still trying to show him what we do in D.C.,” center Marcin Gortat said. “He’s a very smart player who’s picking up things really fast.”
- In an attempt to avoid recent slow starts, New Orleans Pelicans (23-31) coach Monty Williams announced pregame that center Greg Stiemsma would start over Alexis Ajinca. In 31 games, the 6-foot-11 Stiemsma is averaging 2.9 points and 4.3 rebounds. The change of big men appears to be more about intangibles than statistics. “We’re going to start Greg tonight, try to get some smarts out there,” Williams said. “Not that [Alexis'] not smart, but Greg knows a few more things, has more experience.”
- Another graybeard joins Washington’s active roster as the team activated 34-year-old Al Harrington. The perimeter forward has missed 45 games after undergoing a knee procedure on Dec. 9. The Wizards rank 28th in the league in bench scoring. “The second unit is now going to have Al Harrington, who can stretch the floor for us all the way to the 3-point line. Then you have [Andre], a willing passer,” Gortat said. “The second unit should be pretty nice now.” Coach Randy Wittman did not announce pregame if Harrington would receive minutes against New Orleans.
- The Pelicans enter having lost two straight and four of five. New Orleans fell 90-87 at Charlotte on Friday.
- Washington, fifth in the Eastern Conference, has won four straight in the series, including 102-96 at New Orleans on Jan. 8. However, the Wizards have dropped three of four at home and are 13-14 on the season at the Verizon Center.
– Ben Standig