- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 29, 2006

More than a little bit has been made of the new Washington Wizards — the presumably rough and tumble, hard-fouling Wizards, at least based on their 89-84 victory over Cleveland in Game2.

The focus of their new-found aggression, naturally, was LeBron James, who was held to 7-for-25 shooting. The play that generated the most attention and seemed to typify the philosophy, was when Wizards center Brendan Haywood hit James across the neck with a forearm as he drove the lane. Haywood then kept James from falling to the floor.

But at least one member of the Cavaliers is not impressed with Haywood suddenly playing the role of enforcer.

“He’s a baby,” reserve guard Damon Jones said. “Period.”

Then Jones repeated himself.

“He’s a baby, period,” he said. “Babies can’t foul hard. He’s a big kid. He’s not out to hurt anybody. He’s just doing what his coach tells him to do. I don’t make a big deal out of that.”

Hughes ‘a bit rusty’

Former Wizards guard Larry Hughes has had a rough playoff start for the Cavaliers since his return after missing 45 games with a broken right finger.

Going into Game 3 last night, Hughes had shot just 6-for-24 from the field. He had no turnovers and six steals, and acknowledged still feeling a bit rusty.

“I’m not where I want to be, but it’s kind of to be expected,” said Hughes, a key free-agent signing by Cleveland before the season. “Ballhandling, finishing around the basket. Having a good feel for the basketball is not there.”

Hughes went on the inactive list from Jan. 4 to April 2 and again on April 19 for the last regular-season game. He averaged 15.5 points and 4.5 assists in just 36 games. Last year for the Wizards, Hughes averaged 22 points and 6.3 assists and made the NBA all-defensive team.

No help from bench

While they have relied heavily on the scoring of Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison, the Wizards went into last night’s game looking for additional aid.

But don’t look for that relief to come from the bench, which thus far has been anemic.

Of the Wizards’ 204 combined points in Games 1 and 2, all but 33 came from their starters.

Arenas indicated that this might not be that much of a problem, though.

“Our guys have come out all year and done the things that Coach has asked them to do,” Arenas said. “The one thing we don’t want them to do now is play out of character. Look at Michael Ruffin. He’s a fouling machine but we wouldn’t want to have it any other way as long as he brings his game with him.”

Silent success

Washington Sports & Entertainment Charities were at it again last night, raising money in the halls of Verizon Center.

In four silent auctions this season, the organization has raised $25,000 during home games. The auction allows anyone in attendance at a game to bid on items ranging from bobbleheads to autographed T-shirts.

In fact, one three-foot-high Butler bobblehead fetched $2,000, and a pair of game-worn Jamison sneakers garnered $1,400.

All the money raised at the auctions goes to Washington Sports & Entertainment Charities. The Wizards will hold their final auction of the season before tomorrow’s Game 4.

Tayshauned

When the Detroit Pistons defeated the Indiana Pacers two years ago during the playoffs, in one game they blocked a team-record 19 shots. One of those blocks — the biggest of the game — was by Tayshaun Prince on what appeared to be a breakaway for what would could have been a potential tying bucket.

On the play, Prince raced from way back and caught up with Reggie Miller and blocked him at the basket, from behind.

Recently it appears that the Wizards’ Jared Jeffries has mastered the same tactic. He got his second such block of the series on Larry Hughes, whom he caught from behind. After Game 2, when he caught another Cavaliers in a similar situation, the Wizards were referring to Jeffries as “Tayshauning” people.

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