Very good point. We mentally make note of the smooth offensive plays or flashy defensive plays, but solid, hard-nosed defense — the kind Chuck Hayes brings — goes largely unrewarded by the fans and ignored by the replays.
Not this time.
Hayes changed the complexion of last night’s game by doing exactly what he was called upon to do: shut down the red-hot Amar’e Stoudemire. Size, scoring ability… we all know Hayes’ weaknesses and in large playing time doses they get exposed, but when used as a situational defender, Hayes can have a tremendous impact because his one-on-one post defense is in an elite category. We’ve seen that time and time again.
It’s not yet known if the Rockets will get to a state of being a contender this season, but it’s fairly clear that any contender would love to be able to bring a guy like Chuck Hayes off the bench.
Here is a highlight reel clip of Hayes defending Stoudemire Sunday at the Garden. Watch as he uses his strength and quick footwork to consistently stay in front of Stoudemire and get him out of his comfort zone. Even if he fouls him or just forces Amar’e to pass the ball out, Hayes makes sure his face has been spray-painted on Stoudemire’s goggles.