By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, April 22, 2006
How important can a strong performance in the playoffs be to a player? Ask Wizards center Calvin Booth, whose life changed after he helped the Dallas Mavericks upset the Utah Jazz in the first round of the 2001 Western Conference playoffs.
Booth, who began that season with the Wizards before being traded to Dallas, made a layup with 9.8 seconds left to provide the decisive margin in Game 5 for the Mavericks, who had trailed 0-2 in the best-of-five series before rallying to take the final three games.
Booth's strong performance during that series and in the next round against San Antonio earned him a six-year, $34 million contract from Seattle that summer. "If I had stayed with Washington and just finished out that season, nobody probably would have noticed me," Booth said. "But by going to Dallas and playing well in the playoffs, it got my name out there. The playoffs can change everything. It's a big stage."James Irked by Pick
Cleveland star LeBron James did not speak to the media after his team's practice yesterday. As he walked past the assembled reporters, James singled out a Cavaliers beat writer who picked the Wizards to win the series in six games. The pick ran in yesterday's editions of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.Clean-Shaven Jeffries
Forward Jared Jeffries shaved off the beard he had been growing for several weeks. Did he want to look clean-cut for today's playoff opener?
"No," Jeffries said. "When Mama calls and says, 'Cut it off,' it's time to cut it off."