"He is as good as any defender in this league in the low post. I'm going to start talking to the coaches at the end of the year when they have the (All-NBA) defensive team. If he's not on one of the defensive teams, there's something wrong. ... He deserves the credit for it." -- Rockets coach Rick Adelman on Chuck Hayes
Yeah, yeah, whatever. Chuck Hayes may be a rock on the defensive end of the floor, a cerebral player who does all of the little things. A mucker, a grinder, not afraid to get his hands dirty. I get it.
I just want Chuck Hayes to give me my money back.
You see, like many others, I purchased Rockets tickets for Wednesday night for the sole purpose of seeing the Los Angeles Clippers rookie tour de force Blake Griffin record the next episode of his surely-being-assembled highlight DVD. In case you didn't know, Griffin is a beast, a fixture on SportsCenter, and the first compelling reason to watch the Clippers play since Keith Closs. (Go Google Image "Keith Closs" -- his hideousness will mesmerize you. Trust me.)
The Rockets game against the Clippers was actually a sellout, so the tickets were not some six-dollar StubHub throwaways. It didn't matter -- whatever we paid, it would be worth it to watch the Blake Show.
We had seen what Griffin had done against teams with an actual presence on the interior. When Griffin finished with the Rockets, we thought, you'd need dental records to identify the remains.
And then a funny thing happened -- Chuck Hayes happened. To be clear, Chuck Hayes did what he does which is nudge, push and muscle Blake Griffin into acute offensive discomfort (We'll call it "AOD" for short, a Chuck Hayes-inflicted illness). If you're an NBA big, Chuck will never send your shot into the third row; he'll just become such an immovable nuisance that he ruins your night. You'll get your shots off, but it's never easy, and frustration builds upon frustration, and before you know it you're 5 for 16 from the field.
This is what happened to Blake Griffin (yes, 5 for 16 from the field) on Wednesday night, and frankly, Chuck, I'm pissed at you!
You couldn't have let Blake Griffin loose for maybe two or three (hell, one?) highlight-worthy play? This was too much to ask? You had to bring your "A" game on defense and try for the entire 38 minutes you played? What the hell is your problem, Chuck? An NBA player actually trying for 38 minutes? Clearly, you've been watching too much Duke film over at Shane Battier's house. I mean, why not just slap the floor with both hands before bodying up in the low post?
Nobody asked you to be a hero, Chuck. We just wanted to see Blake Griffin posterize a few of you. You couldn't have laid off him for one or two possessions and let him drop crotch on Luis Scola's or Chase Budinger's forehead? That's too much to ask? Don't you realize the league is never going to make a 100 Greatest Chuck Hayes Low-Post Shoves DVD, but Blake Griffin, on the other hand, is going to have an entire box set of dunks before the All-Star break?
And yet none of those dunks will be from last night at the Toyota Center, and it's all your fault, Chuck. Stingy defense, tireless effort, relentless rebounding...what kind of NBA player are you, Chuck?
Please, on behalf of those of us who are still too shallow to fully appreciate the things that you do, stop trying so damn hard, Chuck Hayes.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from noon to 3 p.m. weekdays and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
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