Hayes Feel­ing ‘Giddy’ About Play­off De­but

The Washington Post Sunday - - Sunday Morning On The Air - By Ivan Carter

CLEVE­LAND, April 21 — It’s doubt­ful that any player who takes the floor for Game 1 of the Wiz­ards’ first- round play­off se­ries will be more ap­pre­cia­tive than guard- for­ward Jarvis Hayes, who will fi­nally make his play­off de­but. Hayes missed the last two play­off runs with right knee in­juries and was forced to watch both post­sea­sons while sit­ting on the bench in a suit.

Af­ter the Wiz­ards closed the reg­u­lar sea­son with a win at In­di­ana on Wed­nes­day night, Hayes tri­umphantly held his hands above his head and said, “ I made it to the play­offs!”

In 2004- 05, Hayes was lim­ited to 54 games af­ter frac­tur­ing his right kneecap, and last sea­son he went down af­ter 21 games when he re- in­jured the same knee.

“ I came through the tun­nel into the arena and I was look­ing for that 2007 NBA Play­offs [ logo] on the court,” Hayes said fol­low­ing the team’s prac­tice at Quicken Loans Arena on Satur­day. “ I was kind of up­set be­cause I wanted to walk over it, just ex­pe­ri­ence that feel­ing. It’s not out here yet but I’ll get to see it [ Sun­day]. Ex­cited isn’t even the word to de­scribe how I feel right now. It’s more like giddy.”

Hayes may not feel that way when he opens the game de­fend­ing LeBron James, but even that prospect hasn’t damp­ened his en­thu­si­asm. Hayes, who scored in dou­ble fig­ures in seven of the last nine reg­u­lar sea­son games, made the most of the ex­tra min­utes that came with in­juries to Gil­bert Are­nas and Caron But­ler.

Af­ter strug­gling to es­tab­lish con­sis­tency with his shot all sea­son, Hayes raised his scor­ing av­er­age to 12.1 points per game in April while shoot­ing 45.9 per­cent over­all and 45.5 per­cent from three- point range.

More Green­horns

Hayes won’t be the only Wizard get­ting a taste of the play­offs for the first time. Sec­ond- year for­ward Andray Blatche and guard Roger Ma­son will make their de­buts while sec­ond- year guard Donell Tay­lor played only three min­utes in last spring’s first- round se­ries against Cleve­land.

Also, for­ward Dar­ius Son­gaila sat out last sea­son’s play­offs as a mem­ber of the Chicago Bulls with a frac­tured right foot. Son­gaila did ap­pear in 12 play­off games with the Sacra­mento Kings in 2004 and 2005.

“ Th­ese young guys, there’s no time for the deer- in- the- head­lights stuff and I don’t ex­pect that to hap­pen,” said for­ward Antawn Jamison, who has ap­peared in 21 play­off games.

James Is Mum

Cleve­land’s LeBron James, look­ing some­what like a cast mem­ber on the television se­ries “ En­tourage” in his Yan­kees cap and dark sun­glasses, walked out of the build­ing af­ter prac­tice Satur­day with­out talk­ing with re­porters.

“ You know I don’t talk [ at] shoot- arounds,” James said.

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