Wizards Notebook

Jordan Isn't Worried That Cavs' Hughes Is Tipped Off to Team's Offense

By Ivan Carter and Michael Lee
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Coach Eddie Jordan isn't buying into the notion that former Wizard Larry Hughes's knowledge of the Wizards' offense is giving the Cavaliers a big advantage.

Hughes, who was the star of Cleveland's 97-82 Game 1 victory with 27 points on 9 of 17 shooting, said he was able to "tip off" his teammates about some of the Wizards' tendencies during the game.

"Yeah, he knows, just like we know what they do," Jordan said. "When they call a play out [assistant coach] Wes [Unseld Jr.] stands up and relays the message to our guys. He says: 'It's going to be a flex cut or it's going to be a pick-and-roll,' so, it's the same thing. It's just that a whole lot is being made of it because Larry used to play with us and he scored 27 points."

Guard Antonio Daniels said knowing what the Wizards are going to run and stopping them are two different things, because the system is designed to handle every defense it faces. The backdoor cuts the Wizards' run when a defense overplays the passing lanes are one example.

"There's no disguising our sets," Daniels said. "The Princeton offense is set up with counters so if one thing is taken away, we have a counter for something else, and if that's taken away we have a counter for something else. That's why it takes so long to understand, that's why it's so hard to run. We run that offense for a reason. It's very difficult to scout because you can't take away one thing."

Butler Has Cast Removed

Caron Butler, who has been out with a broken bone in his right hand since April 1, had his cast removed yesterday and is wearing a splint. Butler, who had expressed hope that he could return as soon as Saturday's Game 3, will undergo hand therapy and can have no contact for 7 to 10 days.

In Search of Easy Baskets

The Cavaliers dominated Game 1 in fast-break points, finishing with a 21-1 advantage. To keep the series competitive, the Wizards know they must get some easy points, either by converting turnovers into fast-break dunks and layups or by getting high-percentage shots against Cleveland's half-court defense.

On Sunday, most of the Wizards' points came on mid- to long-range jump shots.

"It's definitely more difficult to score when you're only getting jumpers," said guard Jarvis Hayes, who finished his first playoff game with 18 points on 6-of-15 shooting. "We can help ourselves if we can get out sometimes and get some easy buckets."

Single Coverage

Antawn Jamison scored a game-high 28 points in Game 1, but he was held to just three points in the final 16 minutes. Cavaliers Coach Mike Brown said the team will stick to defending Jamison mostly with single coverage, rather than double-teaming him and risk having other players such as Hayes or DeShawn Stevenson develop confidence with open looks. "Other guys are capable of stepping up," Brown said. "We don't want to sell out on Jamison."

Happy to Not See You

Hughes said he knows center Brendan Haywood would like to play more, but he had no problem seeing him on the bench in the fourth quarter while Etan Thomas, Darius Songaila and Michael Ruffin split time on Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Ilgauskas scored 11 of his 16 points in the final period. "Hopefully, he sits on the bench more," Hughes said about Haywood. "We'd love to see Z do his thing for 48 minutes."

Forward Drew Gooden said Haywood's presence wouldn't have made a difference on Sunday. "Z had it going. The way he was scoring, nobody in the league could've stopped him," Gooden said. "If [Haywood] was out there, he may have made it a little tougher, but I think Z would've been able to get it done."

© 2007 The Washington Post Company