Friday, November 20, 2009 Updated: November 21, 12:33 PM ET
Wallace on shooting: What me, worry?
By Brian MacPherson ESPNBoston.com
BOSTON -- Someone who heard the expletive Rasheed Wallace whispered as he roused himself out of the chair in front of his locker might have assumed he was thinking about his missed shots.
The 6-foot-11 forward missed 12 of the 16 shots he took Friday, including all eight of his 3-pointers. Any one of those shots could have changed the result of a game that was tied -- that he'd tied with a baseline jumper, actually -- with less than three minutes to play.
Through the end of the third quarter, Wallace was 1-for-9 from the field. He'd had opportunity after opportunity from behind the 3-point arc and had come away with nothing to show for it.
Wallace wasn't thinking about his shot, though. He was thinking about the result.
"I'm not worried about my shot right now," he said. "I do the same things every day, still, in practice. I get my shots up after practice. I'm shooting during practice. I'm not worried about it."
Rasheed Wallace goes up for a shot against Dwight Howard of the Magic on Friday night.
Coach Doc Rivers, too, had nothing in the way of criticism on Wallace's shooting. He shook his head in frustration when Wallace missed a 3-point attempt midway through the fourth quarter, his sixth straight miss from behind the arc, but Rivers insisted afterward that he didn't want his shooter to stop shooting.
"We had great shots, both Rasheed and Eddie [House]," Rivers said. "I think we would take the wide-open shots again. Eddie missed wide open once, Rasheed did, even Ray [Allen] missed a couple. We'll take those. I don't mind those at all."
Said Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, "There aren't going to be very many nights that Rasheed goes 0-for-8. He had some very good looks out there from 3 and didn't knock them down."
That's just how things go sometimes for Wallace. He hit six of his eight 3-point attempts Nov. 3 against Philadelphia but went ice-cold after that, missing 15 of his next 17 shots from behind the arc over a span of three games.
Not since 2006, though, has he put up eight 3-pointers in a game without at least one of them dropping through the net. He went 0-for-8 from 3-point range -- and 1-for-13 from the field overall -- in a late-February game against Chicago, but that at least was a game his Detroit Pistons won.
"Everyone goes through their slumps, no matter what it is, every now and then," Wallace said. "The heart of that player will determine how he plays. I'm not the type of player to let the 3s get me down: 'Oh, I'm missing a couple of 3s. I don't want to do this no more.' No, I'm out there playing basketball, and I'm not going to let that get me down."
As it turned out, Wallace actually sparked the Celtics' fourth-quarter rally. He scored back-to-back shots early in the quarter -- both at the rim rather than from behind the arc -- to cut the Orlando lead to three points, and his jump shot from the baseline tied the game at 78 with 2:54 left to play.
He also stymied the Magic's efforts to get the ball to Dwight Howard in the paint, deflecting entry passes on consecutive possessions as the Celtics clawed back. Paul Pierce turned the first steal into two points with a fast-break layup, and Wallace himself had a chance to give the Celtics a lead after the second steal. But he missed the 3-pointer at the other end.
With Kendrick Perkins limited to 14 minutes by foul trouble, including a technical foul that sent him to the bench for good in the third quarter, Wallace drew primary duty on Howard for much of the game. Orlando's double-double machine finished with 15 rebounds but just nine points -- including four points in the second half.
"You can't let him get that deep post," Wallace said. "Once he gets that deep post, he's [tough] to stop because he's so strong. He'll go up and dunk on your head. I just tried to push him out of the paint a little bit. That's all I did."
His defensive effort had to be his only consolation. Nothing went right for Wallace at the offensive end. But that was the last thing on his mind as he sauntered into the shower.
"I ain't even worried about it, honestly," he said. "It's good looks. I'd say I probably rushed about two or three of them, but other than that, it's good looks. It's just not going for me. I'm not worried about my offense now. It's still early in the season. I know I won't be shooting like this for the duration of the season."
Brian MacPherson is a freelancer for ESPNBoston.