Seen and heard last night at Gund Arena in Cleveland:
HAYWOOD ACTIVATED Wizards center Brendan Haywood was activated for the game. As he gets into game shape, Haywood will be expected to play a large role with the Wizards because he is long and rangy, can be a defensive force, and he offers the team a viable offensive option in the post.
Haywood, who suffered a torn ligament in his left thumb before the start of the season, has been practicing with the team.
Before the game the rookie seemed anything but nervous about his debut.
“I don’t feel any pressure because of him,” Haywood said, pointing in the direction of Michael Jordan. “That’s the great thing about this team. There’s no pressure on me. All of the pressure is on Michael Jordan. I just go out there and play.”
KEEPING TABS ON MICHAEL To make life easier on Jordan, coach Doug Collins and Jordan have devised a strategy that will place less emphasis on Jordan having to score points in bunches when he comes off the bench.
“It’s tough on him when he has to play the first eight minutes, then sit down for four, and then get back in the game in the second quarter,” Collins said. “Then he has to come out after halftime, after he’s been sitting, and then we ask him to score right away for us. That’s going to have to change as well as his minutes coming down.”
Collins doesn’t want Jordan entering the game after an extended period of rest and then having to provide instant offense. Collins wants to see others contribute to carrying the load.
“That’s why we’re going to need other guys to step up and give us scoring,” Collins said. “Both things have to occur for us to be successful.”