Despite shooting 3-9 from the field, Brooklyn Nets swiss army knife forward Gerald Wallace reached double digits for the first time in 12 games – and just the fifth time in 32 games – with 13 points in the Nets’ 108-98 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Tuesday.
Crash’s lack of offensive production hasn’t worried Nets interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo. “Gerald brings 18 things to the table that are as or more important than if he’s not shooting the ball well or he’s struggling offensively,” Carlesimo said before the New Orleans game. “He’s so important for us because of the intensity he brings, his defensive versatility.”
It is this intensity and defensive acumen that has kept the 13 year NBA-vet in the good graces of Nets fans in spite of Wallace posting his worst PER (12.2) since the 2003-04 season. When we suggested that the trade for Wallace, which cost them the sixth overall draft pick that turned into likely Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard, might be one of the four worst trades in Nets history, Nets fans were not happy.
The intensity, however, might also be a hindrance. Known for being hard on himself (and his teammates), Wallace has provided himself with plenty of offensive-fodder for self-immolation this month. In seven games in March, the 6’7″ forward is shooting 16-for 53 (30.2%), including a 2-14 (14.3%) mark from three that would Make Monta Ellis blush.
“I think me beating my head up against a wall has made things a little worse, but I think tonight will hopefully get me headed in the right direction, especially as we’re going into the playoffs.”
So how did he score 13 points shooting 3-for-9 from the field? He attacked the rim and got to the line. Wallace went 7-for-9 from the charity stripe, the most free throw attempts he has had since the Christmas day debacle against Boston.
“Gerald did a good job of attacking on being aggressive on the offensive end, which I’ve been telling him to do all season,” Deron Williams said. “We need him to be looking to score a lot more.”
With the Nets receiving the lowest scoring output from the four spot of any team in the league, they will need an improved offensive version of Crash down the stretch and in the playoffs. With the Raptors loss to the Celtics last night, the magic number is now only four for the Nets to make the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
The Nets don’t play again until Sunday at Atlanta, with a tough eight game, 17 day road trip ahead of them. Is Wallace hopeful he can rest up during the break and carry the momentum from the Hornets game going forward?
“I hope so,” he said. “I won’t have to beat myself up tonight, so that’ll help. Hopefully this is a starter. I was able to get to the rim a lot more. I was able to get to the free throw line and make some free throws, so just seeing the ball go into the basket and my momentum getting to the rim is kind of a positive thing.”
Read More: New York Post — Nets’ Wallace finally back into offensive rhythm