Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Brooklyn Nets [Print without images]

Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Wallace bounces back; now he can rest

By Mike Mazzeo

On Monday, Brooklyn Nets forward Gerald Wallace was down. On Tuesday, he was up.

In Brooklyn's 108-98 victory over the New Orleans Hornets at Barclays Center, Wallace scored 13 points -- his first game in double figures since Feb. 11 -- grabbed eight rebounds and recorded two steals.

So is this the kind of performance that could jump-start Wallace for the stretch run?

Gerald Wallace
Gerald Wallace scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds on Tuesday night.
"I hope so," he said.

Just a day earlier, Wallace sat at his locker and looked at the floor after a disheartening loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. He declined comment to reporters after going 2-for-8 from the field and being benched for the entire fourth quarter.

"I don't have to beat myself up tonight, so that helps," Wallace said Tuesday after going 7-for-9 from the line. "Hopefully this is a start. 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 through the basket and my momentum getting to the rim is a positive thing for me."

In his first 20 games this season, after signing a four-year, $40 million contract to remain a Net, Wallace averaged 11.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.6 steals per game on 45 percent shooting, including 36.4 percent from 3-point range.

But in his next 34 games -- heading into Tuesday -- Wallace's numbers plummeted significantly: 6.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.2 steals per game on 36.6 percent shooting, including 27.5 percent from 3-point range.

Before tipoff, Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said he wasn't worried about Wallace.

"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. "He's so important for us because of the intensity he brings, his defensive versatility."

The Nets don't play again until Sunday.

"He's banged up," Carlesimo said of Wallace, who has already missed 10 games thanks to injury. "I think the four days [off] will benefit him, but again I'm not overly concerned. Gerald is gonna play big minutes, and he's going to be there for us. I'm looking forward to him getting four days off and coming back a little bit better, but he'll be fine."

Wallace is looking forward to this week's break. After all, an eight-game, 17-day road trip looms.

"I guess this is their way of telling us, 'Enjoy your bed,'" Wallace joked.