Wallace lifts Bobcats to victory over PacersFeb 19, 2009 - 4:22 AM CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Welcome back, Gerald Wallace - the Charlotte Bobcats needed you.
In his second game back after returning from a partially collapsed lung and broken rib, Wallace carried his club to a 103-94 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.
The veteran forward collected 25 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, making a marked difference on a Charlotte offense that had stagnated in his absence. The Bobcats were 2-5 in the seven games they spent without him leading up to the All-Star break. He returned with a modest effort in Tuesday's loss to Orlando, but was back to normal in this one.
"Knowing what I have to deal with now in terms of adjusting and getting back into the flow of things the way I was, I was able to perform a lot better tonight than I was last night," Wallace said. "I'm way away from being in the shape I was, but I'm getting there. I'm taking steps forward, that's the good thing about it."
He made his presence felt in the lane, repeatedly drawing contact and getting to the free-throw line 17 times, connecting on 15. But he got some much-needed help in the third quarter as the Pacers pushed back to within one point. Boris Diaw's driving layup sparked a 16-3 run that opened up a 77-63 advantage for Charlotte.
"They're a hard team to guard; they spread you out and it's pretty difficult," Charlotte coach Larry Brown said. "With that being said, after last night, this is a good win. I'm really happy with the fact that we can bounce back."
Wallace, the team's leading scorer at 16.2 points per game, first went down on January 27 against the Los Angeles Lakers on a flagrant foul courtesy of Andrew Bynum, but was cleared to play after the All-Star break.
"I just want to lay down somewhere and fall asleep, I'm so tired," Wallace said. "It's so hard coming off not having done anything. I'll find out tomorrow."
He contributed eight points, four boards and four assists in his return on Tuesday, but seemed to have his legs fully back underneath him in this one. The Bobcats reaped the benefits. The 6-7 slasher attacked the soft Indiana defense all night and set the tone from the start.
As a result, the Bobcats put together their highest scoring output since Wallace's last game, a 117-point showing in a double-overtime victory.
"Gerald was great tonight, thank God we had him," Brown said.
The Pacers made it close - on more than one occasion. Facing a 13-point deficit late in the third quarter, they staged a 12-5 spurt to pull to within a six. Troy Murphy buried a pair of free throws to spark the rally and Jarrett Jack and T.J. Ford capped it with back-to-back layups in a 19-second span.
But Charlotte guard Raja Bell responded, burying a back-breaking 3-pointer with 47 seconds remaining to extend the lead to 102-93 and all but put the game on ice. Bell had 11 points on 4-of-12 shooting, but was 3-of-5 from the arc.
Raymond Felton scored 16 points and recent acquisition Vladimir Radmanovic chipped in with 15 off the bench.
"It's going to take sometime for all of us to adjust to each other on the court and to be comfortable with everything that we're trying to do," Radmanovic said. "Once we accomplish that, we're going to be a much better team. Right now, we're just trying to play as five guys running around and trying to read each other."
Murphy and Jack scored 18 points apiece to lead the Pacers, who had to survive for most of the last three quarters without their best player. All-Star forward Danny Granger left the game early in the second quarter with a right foot strain and did not return.
"I don't know what happened," Granger said. "I jumped with that last shot that I took before I left the game, I felt like something popped in my foot. It's so painful. I hope I won't be out long."
He already had 12 points in 10 minutes before departing. He will have an MRI on Thursday.
"He is an offensive threat that is consistent for us," Jack said. "He had a great first half. To lose him, it just compounds our problems, injury-wise."
CHARLOTTE 103 FINAL
Feb 18 9:27 PM
CHARLOTTE 79 END, 3RD QTR
Feb 18 8:56 PM
INDIANA AT CHARLOTTE
NOTE: INDIANA F DANNY GRANGER LEFT THE GAME IN THE
SECOND QUARTER WITH A RIGHT FOOT SPRAIN. HE WILL
Feb 18 8:32 PM
CHARLOTTE 53 HALFTIME
Feb 18 8:14 PM
CHARLOTTE 32 END, 1ST QTR
Feb 18 7:40 PM
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