At 'Sixty Percent' Gerald Wallace Thrills On Opening Night
By sarahhecht Posted in: geraldwallace
On any given night in the NBA shooting 8-of-13 from the floor, scoring 21 points and nabbing nine rebounds is a good night. Even more than good, it’s a solid performance.
But that’s just any given night, and Gerald Wallace isn’t just any player. He’s the guy who puts up a line comparable to the number one on a squad and gets ticked off about how he played.
Throughout the preseason Wallace felt like he was in a bit of a funk. He didn’t play the kind of ball he likes and he certainly didn’t put up the numbers to satisfy his competitive heart.
In two exhibitions games he shot 2-of-10 from the floor, scored 16 points and pulled down nine boards. To Wallace, those numbers were abysmal and absolutely unacceptable. There’s only one solution when your shot isn’t falling. Hit the gym and shoot more.
Following his lack-luster performances Wallace forced his head back into the game. He stayed after practice to put up shots and get more reps. He stayed to push himself.
“Right now you gotta work through after practice because you know you’re going to get fatigued, especially during games you’re gonna get fatigued real fast. So you wanna work after practice when you have weak legs, when you’re tired and try to help your shot and transfer it over to the game.”
The bit of extra time proved fruitful tonight when Wallace’s contributions helped the Trail Blazers defeat the Philadelphia 76ers 107-103. But it wasn’t only his six fourth quarter points that barreled the team forward, his 4 rebounds and quick decisions to push the ball on the break played an important role in energizing the team and the arena.
“It keeps my adrenaline running and it keeps me going out on the court,” Wallace said of the Rose Garden crowd. “I definitely feed off the fans and their energy that they put into this building every night.”
With the help of the Rip City faithful and a diligent work ethic of his own Wallace took steps toward a return to his comfort-zone, though he’s not where he wants to be quite yet.
“My main thing is I still feel a little slow, a few steps off, especially in my rotation and shooting the gap, my reads,” Wallace said. “My timing is off a little bit and I feel like I’m slow as far as speed.
“I’m probably 60 percent of where I wanna be. Mentally and physically.”
If Gerald Wallace feels like he’s playing at 60 percent while he puts up a line like tonight then one thing is for sure. I can’t wait to see him push to 100.