If there were any doubts about Gerald Wallace’s rotation spot, Brooklyn Nets interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo cleared them up quickly after Monday night’s 106-101 victory over the Washington Wizards.
“Gerald’s gotta play,” Carlesimo stressed.
Following Sunday’s loss to the Toronto Raptors, the Brooklyn Nets locked themselves into the fourth seed of the playoffs, and Carlesimo made it clear that he was going to “get guys some rest.”
He did just that, sitting two bench players and four starters, but surprisingly left forward Gerald Wallace, who’d sat with injuries Sunday, in the starting lineup. Playing with the bench, Wallace shot 1-3 in 22 minutes, missing all three of his free throws. Carlesimo was happy with the performance.
“I thought he looked good. He’s upset with Timmy and I that he didn’t play more. But the whole point was to get him out and get a little cardio work and make sure that his foot was all right. Hopefully if he comes out of it well tomorrow, we can play him some more minutes on Wednesday. I think it’s exactly what Timmy wanted, and we were pleased.”
Wallace expressed last week that his confidence was “totally gone,” and that he was afraid to shoot for fear that his missed shots would cause him to lose playing time. Carlesimo addressed that directly.
“I don’t count how many times he shoots,” Carlesimo added. “I feel he’s gonna come out of it. He’s shot it too well, he’s scored too much throughout his career, that he’ll be fine. I just think that the combination of the injuries and the way he’s been struggling. But he’s gonna play. He’s gonna play minutes, for sure.”
In 25 games since the All-Star break, Wallace has shot just 33% from the field on 6.4 field goal attempts per game, a punitive 13.7% from three-point range, and 60.8% from the line — all well below his career averages. He’s shot over 50% in a game just once since February 8th and played 31 minutes against the Charlotte Bobcats on April 6th without registering a field goal.