Two games. Two wins. Two stellar performances from Gerald Wallace.
It’s not usually the norm for me to write about the same player two nights in a row, but here I am, singing Wallace’s praises for a second consecutive night.
Following yesterday’s home opener I told the tale of Wallace’s drive to get back into the rhythm of the season
. Of how he started the preseason a bit flat and decided to put in some extra time at the practice facility to improve on the frustrating performances. But even after an outstanding first night of the regular season he still wasn’t feeling his game click into place. In fact, after putting up one of the best lines of the game, he said he felt like he was only at “sixty percent.”
Tonight, Wallace wowed again as the Trail Blazers defeated the visiting Sacramento Kings 101-79. He was the game’s high scorer with 25 points. He shot 8-of-11 from the field and 8-of-9 from the charity stripe. He ripped down eight rebounds, dished five dimes and blocked two shots. Needless to say, he was the star.
“He’s all over the place providing that energy,” Head Coach Nate McMillan said. “That toughness on the boards, blocking shots. He got Salmons in foul trouble early by going to him in the post. I thought it was a solid job.”
McMillan was the first to acknowledge Wallace’s contributions, but he certainly wasn’t the last. Point guard Raymond Felton, who played with Wallace in Charlotte for five years, raved about their connection on the floor.
“I know his game, he know mine, so that’s why it makes it look easy out there,” Felton said. “It makes it seem like we finding each other, which we do cause it’s good to have somebody out there that you really have a connection with.
“That’s something we had in Charlotte. We was both two guys that was really aggressive on defense. We did a lot of trapping together and we had a lot of fun. So just to get that started with him again, we kinda tried to do that during the second half to start the third quarter and it kinda got everybody going and we blew out the lead.”
Hearing accolades like that make you think Wallace must have been feeling better than sixty percent. But while we watched Wallace work his magic on the court he still wasn’t feeling it.
“I’m still at sixty percent. I felt slow. Raymond outran me one time down the court, did you see that?! He ain’t never been able to outrun me,” Wallace said as he teased Felton.
“It’s just some feeling, you know? Mainly I said sixty percent because of the transition. I played the four the whole training camp so I’m still kind of getting adjusted to being out on the wing, running the floor and things like that. But I still don’t feel like I’m where I want to be.”
As the season barrels forward and Wallace continues to mesh back into his natural three position he’ll begin to feel better about his performances. But until then you can count on seeing Wallace push the floor, make high-risk/high-reward decisions and generally cause a ruckus as he moves to 100 percent.
And if he gets there by Thursday you can bet I’ll be writing about him for a third game in a row.