The Brendan Haywood-Z Conundrum, Part LXVII
Many of you have expressed the opinion that this whole Haywood-vs.-Z storyline is a bit much. As in, the Wizards won't exactly become a threat to win the NBA title if Haywood gets 20 minutes a game instead of 10. In terms of basketball plots, though, that's about the best thing we've got going. Z continues, even this morning, to wonder why Haywood isn't playing. It's to the point where you maybe wonder if, for some reason, he actually does want to face Haywood, and is attempting to bluff Eddie Jordan. Here was Z, when asked yet again if he was surprised by the lack of Wood:
"Little bit," he said. "But I'm pretty sure we'll see a lot more of Brendan in this series. I don't know why he didn't play that much. But you know, that's their problem, we're not worried about that. We won the game, that's all we care."
Then he was asked if it was easier for him against a smaller defender.
"Obviously," he said. "Life is better for a [bigger] guy when he sees a [smaller] guy on him."
Several TV types asked Haywood about this issue. I know fans like to beat on Haywood, but give him credit for not openly rebelling. Media people have given him every chance to say something everyone would regret. In real life, it wouldn't make much of a difference even if he did--everyone knows what he must be thinking--but then media hounds would be all over the "dysfunctional team" storyline, which would be annoying, so give Haywood some credit.
"Right now, I'm not going to lie, I'm not in a comfort level," he said. "I'm used to being a starter, playing heavy minutes. And right now I'm playing spot level, so when I get out there I feel like I have to make a play happen very quickly or else I won't be playing for the rest of the day, so hopefully I can make a couple plays early and I can stay out there....All the substitution patterns and who's going in and who's going out, those are better questions for the coaching staff."
He was asked about Z's comments, and whether he would be able to make life more difficult for the Cavs' center.
"I don't want to go out there and say what I would do or wouldn't do, because then if you go out there and it doesn't happen, you look stupid," Haywood said. "But at the end of the day I think I've played him well in the past. I know that, Z knows that. And if the coaching staff needs me to go out there and play him, I'll go out there and play."
Also, Antawn Jamison was asked about getting more production out of the bigs tonight.
"We definitely need them to be a little bit more aggressive on both ends of the floor," he said. "And I told them if they double team [me], I'm looking for them to really help us out and take advantage of the situation. Because on the double team, it's pretty much their big coming out on me, and you've got them with a guard or a forward. So we need our bigs to be more productive."
And in another storyline that's more tired than a blogger who had a 4:30 am wake-up call, the Larry Hughes Play-Recognizing Story entered Day Four. This morning, Hughes apparently said again how valuable his knowledge of the Wiz offense has been. And Jamison, representing the Wiz, disagreed, when asked whether this makes a difference.
"Not really," he said. "Every time they call a play we know what they want to do. Like I said, everybody knows our plays. We know their plays....This is playoff basketball. I guarantee you every play that they call we knew it....But that's their psyche about it, and we have our psyche about it too. And we're still getting the ball in different situations, we've just got to do a better job as far as taking quality shots and being smart once we take those shots."
Can you believe there are two more off days before Game 3? It's just ghastly. After tonight, there will have been as many "American Idol" episodes as Wizards' playoff games this week.
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