MIAMI, April 12 — The Wizards, focused heartly on their forthcoming playoff matchups, continue to play strong games down the stretch of the season, often coming close to snatching victory from their opponents. Last night's game was no different as a unified team effort bolstered by contributions from unsung heroes like Donnell Taylor, Roger Mason Jr., and Brendan Haywood, lead the Wizards to once again challenge their opponents all the way to the final minute. With competitive demeanor, adequate defense, and the occasional made basket, the Wizards made the Miami Heat, minus Shaq, but with Darling Dwyane Wade and his posse of fawning referees in tow, work hard for their usually automatic "w." Haywood in particular was a standout. Posting a double-double (team-high 14 points, 10 boards) for the first time since February, Haywood, suddenly given viable court-time, forced his wavering will upon the geriatric Heat by utilizing his patented "hideous-hook" and generally being gangly and tough to deal with. With Haywood's strong play last night, there is hope that Eddie Jordan will see what including the one viable defender on the team in the lineup may bring to the table.
The Wizards bench scored 40 of the Wizards' 82 points last night, giving a much-needed blow to the already over-worked starting lineup, who were on the second night of back-to-back games. Taylor, given crunch-time minutes again despite having nothing even close to resembling a jumpshot, was pesky on defense forcing Darling Dwyane to cough up 7 turnovers (a feat not mentioned between Stuart Scott's various Boo-yeahs on Sportscenter) and forceful when driving the lane with a couple of nice fast-break jams. One hopes that the entire Wizards roster will be able to put together a cohesive game instead of one glaring weakness presenting itself to the forefront every night while another one is seemingly cured, like a deranged dam with several leaking dykes.
Yet, in the process of these trying times, the Wizards have been consistently spectacular when it comes to quote-giving. The process in which the team provides a nugget of locker room insight for professional reporters often, when involving corporate lackey-stiffs like Wade, lead to cliched, dull mumbles of emptyness. However, with the adversity of this late season struggles, both Darius Songaila and Brendan Haywood have been eloquent and, at times, brilliant. When asked of their recent struggles to finish a game, Songaila provided this detailed metaphor.
"It is like a scratched CD that keeps clicking at the same spot."The visual detail in this quote is profound, even if CD's are pretty much obsolete. One wonders what awful techno music is the proverbial CD in Darius's boombox during this trying time. Haywood too provided verbal excellence with this quip regarding their close-but-no-whistles-on-Zo finishes:
"Being close in games doesn't count for much except horseshoes and handHaywood echoes the tragic battlefields of the Southeast division, where similar to a Middle-East battle, bodies are piling up on the disabled list, ultimate victory is becoming unlikely and the call to pull out is growing louder by the minute. Does this make the DCO John McCain? Maybe, but rest assured, while this group may have suffered endless torture, there will be no flip-flopping here.
grenades," Haywood said. "We have been close in all of our games since our guys
have been out. We just need to continue to work hard, continue to fight for each
other and believe in what we do."