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Sunday, March 18, 2012
Wallace plays well in Nets' debut

By Mike Mazzeo

Gerald Wallace felt like a rookie on Saturday night.

“It was wild, it was kind of crazy,” the newest Net said after he scored 11 points (3-for-9 shooting), grabbed three rebounds, dished out three assists and blocked a season-high tying three shots over 37 minutes in his debut with the team. The Nets lost to the Hornets, 102-94. “It’s like when you first get out there on the court: you know the play calls, but you don’t know where to go.”

Wallace, who was acquired from Portland in a deadline trade, made his presence from the start. He scored his first points as a Net on a first-quarter alley-oop lay-in from Deron Williams, and also came out of nowhere to stuff Trevor Ariza in the opening period. Oh, and there was that one save on an errant pass from Anthony Morrow where he fell back and nearly collided into the press table on the baseline. No wonder his nickname is “Crash.”

In the third quarter, Wallace stuffed Grevis Vasquez with 20 seconds left, which led to a ridiculous two-handed finish by Kris Humphries on the other end, and proceeded to knock down a corner 3-pointer as the buzzer expired to put the Nets up by 12.

Then it all fell apart.

“I think we let a game get away that we could’ve won,” Wallace said. “We didn’t execute well in the fourth quarter and we couldn’t get stops.”

Coach Avery Johnson was pleased with what the 29-year-old veteran brought to the team.

“He’s got to find out how he fits in,” Johnson said. “Maybe he over-passed a just a little bit because that’s what you do when you get traded. You want to fit in with guys, and he’s really unselfish.”

Wallace’s career-high for blocked shots is six (twice).

• D-Will recorded his 15th double-double this season with 20 points and 12 assists in 37 minutes. He shot 9-for-24 from the field -- including 2-for-7 from 3-point range.

Anthony Morrow tallied 20 points off the bench. He shot 8-for-13 from the field and 4-for-4 from 3. Morrow has scored 20 or more points seven times this season.

Gerald Green now has five straight double-digit scoring games. He had 12 of his 16 points in the first half in 25 minutes off the bench. He shot 6-for-13 from the field and 2-for-4 from deep.

Kris Humphries had eight points and a game-high 16 rebounds in 39 minutes. He now has 12 15-plus rebound games this season.

• The Nets’ bench scored 38 points.