Posted: Sunday April 23, 2006 6:10PM; Updated: Monday April 24, 2006 11:24AM
Zydrunas Ilgauskas sports his nifty hook and newly grown beard.
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
8:20:Donyell Marshall catches a swing pass in the corner and -- surprising everyone including possibly himself -- actually dribbles toward the basket. The move culminates in an awkward curlicue layup attempt, which he misses. Watching it, it is hard to believe that this is the same Marshall who came into the league blocking shots and trying to dunk on opponents from six feet out a decade ago. Now Marshall appears to be following the Robert Horry Maturation Plan: ridiculous long-limbed athlete slowly morphs into immobile, wing-ensconced three-point-shooting specialist. Somewhere, Sam Perkins would be proud.
6:03: Z goes flying -- OK, toppling -- onto the floor for a loose ball. This means he's seeing eye to eye with Anderson Varejao, the reserve forward with a floral arrangement for hair who seems to spend all of his time either splayed on the ground, hurtling through the air or fouling the living spit out of someone. In fact, Varejao is just the kind of guy the Wizards need right now.
5:55: Z scores inside and Hubie's take is: "When you try to front Ilgauskas, that's like death." It is hard not to love Hubie. He's the best technical color guy in the league, rarely uses catchphrases and clearly would be doing this for free -- bellied up to some bar somewhere -- if ABC weren't paying him. One of my indelible Hubie memories was from a couple years ago, when Jerry West brought him back to coach the Grizzlies. After a home win, Hubie stood for a press conference at a podium in front of a dozen or so media members. He answered questions, traveled on tangents, scoured the box score. One by one the reporters left to file stories until, finally, there was only one left. Brown, undaunted, kept going, eventually asking himself questions. "So you might be wondering why we didn't double [Kevin] Garnett in that third quarter? Well, I'll tell you." Finally, the media relations people had to pry him away from the podium. The guy just loves to talk basketball.