by Zettler Clay
Apparently, when big men get dunked on by perimeter players, there is an airtight alibi. And our man Brendan Haywood is the guy to let us know.
Haywood spoke to ESPNDallas.com about the play that is making rounds around the NBA Playoffs.
“He made a hell of a play, man,” Haywood told ESPNDallas.com during the Mavericks’ shootaround before Saturday’s Game 3. “He went to the 20th floor and I stopped at the 10th. It was one of those plays, I mean, I watched it myself and was like, ‘Whoa, that’s a great play.’
Fair enough. But he wasn’t done. Not by a long shot.
“It was a great play, but I’m not even really worried about that. I’m more worried about how bad our perimeter defense was. I’m like, ‘Peja, uh, can you close the gate a little bit maybe?’”
Peja Stojakovic said “my bad” after the play. Haywood wasn’t satisfied.
“I was like, ‘A little late for that, Peja. I don’t really want to hear your bad. Just move your feet a little bit better next time. Just move your feet,’” Haywood said. “I think that’s the problem. There’s no way in the world we should have had Peja on (Kevin) Durant. That’s wrong. We’re going to blame that on a coaching error. If Peja is on Durant, we should automatically as a team yell zone. It should definitely be a zone.”
Goodness. On one hand, this looks to be a clear case of an embarrassed soul saving face for a play that, well, would make Shawn Bradley blush. On the other hand, this could be viewed as an impassioned plea for smarter play from a team that is this close to a NBA championship.
Overall, Haywood is ultimately right. There is absolutely no percentage in pitting Stojakovic against a two-time scoring champ in a Western Conference Finals matchup. Ever. Whether his excoriations will affect team chemistry or any future highlight reel is remaining to be seen.
And as if you haven’t seen this enough: