Haywood Delivers a Spark, But Center Is a Concern
Friday, April 27, 2007
Washington Wizards center Brendan Haywood busted out of Coach Eddie Jordan's doghouse long enough to score 13 points, grab four rebounds and get into a scrap with Cleveland Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao during Game 2 on Wednesday night.
Haywood was assessed a technical foul after getting mixed up with the high-energy Varejao while going after a rebound in the third quarter and turned himself into a despised figure among Cleveland fans by waving the crowd on as it serenaded him with boos as he left the floor.
So what did Varejao, a Brazilian, say to get Haywood so worked up?
"It was in English and it was profane," Haywood said. "I got the tech and it was probably well deserved but at the end of the day, I thought he was out of line with the comments he made to me."
The more important thing, from the Wizards' perspective, was that Haywood along with forward Darius Songaila (13 points) and Roger Mason (10) provided some needed offense off the bench. The Wizards held a 35-13 edge in bench scoring.
During the fourth quarters of both games, Jordan has primarily gone with a smaller lineup that has not included either Haywood or starting center Etan Thomas, who posted nine points and five rebounds in just less than 16 minutes in Game 2.
The Wizards were outscored 23-15 and outrebounded 10-9 during the fourth quarter of Sunday's 97-82 Game 1 loss. In the final period of Game 2, the Wizards held a 39-34 scoring edge but were outrebounded 17-10.
"We've been in a situation where we have to score and we need scorers on the floor," Jordan said. "We have to score and our centers are not scorers, so we played Darius at center. It's always good when you have a five-man like him and a four-man like Antawn [Jamison] who can make shots."
The main issue with playing the 6-foot-8 Songaila at center in tandem with the 6-9 Jamison is that the Wizards can be hurt rebounding.
"If our centers are rebounding at a high level, then that can help us," Jordan said. "But if our centers aren't rebounding, then we have to go somewhere else."
Guard Donell Taylor's identical brother, Ronell, attended yesterday's practice and fooled some of Taylor's teammates when he walked out of the locker room wearing Taylor's practice gear.
"I thought it was Donell, swear to God," DeShawn Stevenson said. "He could probably sneak on the bench and get into a game. They look exactly alike."
Ronell, who shared the back court with Donell at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, just completed his season in the Development League.