Gerald Wallace comes across as a streaky player. He feeds off energy and momentum. The opening preseason game was a good start for the veteran seeking a fresh start in Boston. The aptly nicknamed "Crash" scored 16 points, earned a few Tommy Points, and ran hard throughout his 26 minutes.
As the preseason continues tonight in Providence against the New York Knicks, Wallace will no doubt want to build off his impressive game on Monday night. Following the game he said he's "playing more freely." That statement was something a lot of Wallace defenders wanted to hear. In Brooklyn, Wallace was restrained by a slow tempo offense, now Wallace will be free to push the ball himself or get out in the open court with teammates.
With Courtney Lee looking lost and no other shooting guard really stepping up on Monday, Gerald Wallace could push Jeff Green into a shooting guard role more often than we initially thought. While the shooting guard position is packed, no one really stepped up. MarShon Brooks (2 minutes), Jordan Crawford (20 minutes, but mostly at point guard), Avery Bradley (split 33 minutes between PG and SG), Keith Bogans saw 9 minutes, and Courtney Lee (32 minutes) were all pretty unimpressive. Bradley looked good, especially shooting threes, but with Rajon Rondo's return still up in the air, it cannot be assumed that he'll get a lot of minutes there the first six weeks of the season. We also didn't see Phil Pressey against the Toronto Raptors.
Wallace, on the other hand, used his time well. He seemed comfortable in his role. His shots came within the flow of the offense. Now the key will be his defense. He was a first team all defensive player in the past, but Rudy Gay had a pretty easy time scoring when Wallace was guarding him. The Celtics did not protect the rim very well, and it exposed Wallace at times. With so many young guys under the basket, Wallace will need to be a stalwart on the perimeter and try to limit penetration.
Overall, Wallace's start was bright spot on Monday. His personality and playing style are well suited for a free and open game where he can get out in transition. Hopefully, it will snowball into a strong season where 16 point nights are not the exception but instead the rule.
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