-- A strong start by Wizards center Brendan Haywood has drawn the attention of opposing players according to Coach Eddie Jordan, who watched Denver's Marcus Camby and then Orlando's Dwight Howard go at Haywood in recent losses.
Haywood's production has increased in each season of his five-year NBA career and he entered Friday's game averaging 8.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.5 blocks.
But he hit a roadblock on Friday night, scoring zero points on 0-for-5 shooting. He also fouled out, but had seven rebounds and a block.
After Camby posted 24 points, 14 rebounds and 6 blocks in Denver's 108-105 win Tuesday, Haywood played some excellent defense on Howard, who finished with five points and seven rebounds in Orlando's 91-83 win Wednesday.
"He's established a name for himself," Jordan said of Haywood. "Camby took the challenge, Howard took the challenge and he's got to step and say: 'I've got people coming at me and I've got to be ready to handle that pressure.' "
Saunders Back on Track
The success Flip Saunders has experienced in his first season coaching the Pistons should serve as cautionary tale for teams that fire proven head coaches.
After nine successful seasons and a trip to the Western Conference finals with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Saunders was essentially let go for the poor play of veterans Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell last February. Now, Saunders has the Pistons looking like potential NBA champions while the Wolves (6-5) are struggling under first-year coach Dwane Casey. "It's going to be a smooth transition," Jordan said of Saunders.