Mavs want Haywood mad

San Antonio Spurs fans should note that the Brendan Haywood they saw on Sunday is not the real Brendan Haywood. The guy that had five blocks and held Tim Duncan to just 12 points is usually bumbling around trying not to get in anyone’s way.

When the Mavs lost Tyson Chandler, everyone knew their post game was going to suffer, but they’ve actually improved their defensive numbers since last year. Mavs guard Jason Terry says Haywood is probably a part of that, but the doesn’t want the big guy to get complacent.

“People talked a lot about Tyson leaving,” Terry said, alluding to the motivational power that might have had with Haywood. “I don’t want to stroke the guy too much, because I like where he’s at right now. I want to keep him mad and worrying that Tyson is gone, but he’s doing a hell of a job. He just has to continue doing what he’s doing.”

Mavs coach Rick Carlisle also had some high praise for Haywood.

“Look, Haywood’s been great really most of the year,” Carlisle said. “I mean, the last three weeks he’s been phenomenal. He’s given us great basket coverage. He’s rebounding well. He’s a presence around the basket at both ends of the floor. He’s an anchor for us right now.”

Could Haywoodfinally be improving? Is it time for him to shed the perception that he’s an over-sized goof fumbling up and down the court? I would have to see a lot more evidence than what I’ve seen so far, but I guess it’s possible. I’ve never been impressed with the guy, if you can’t tell by the tone of this post, so I’m not going to hold my breath, but I guess you never know. People can surprise you.

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