by BrooklynFans.com executive producer Pete Tenney (@PeteTenney)
When the deal didn’t happen by last trade deadline, the Nets went out and got Gerald Wallace.
Add him to the Nets’ domino pieces that remained in Brooklyn, only to tumble down on the Magic this month. Friday the Nets made it 5 straight, dumping Orlando 98-86.
After Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries (the trade bait) beat up on Orlando in the first two November meetings, the Howard consolation prize (Crash Wallace) showed his stuff in meeting #3 this month.
The Magic aren’t pleased to have drawn Brooklyn this many times to open the season. Especially when do-everything guys like Wallace are draining 3′s … he went 5-6 Friday and led the team with 20.
Wallace is as close as it gets to the heart and soul of Brooklyn basketball. He’s arguably as vital as Deron Williams. He rebounds. He bodies up the opponent’s star. He backs down defenders. He unites the team with that “we’re not losing this game” attitude. And, as he showed Friday, if you give up and just leave him to shoot threes, he’ll knock those down too.
Pretty nice to have all that in one guy, when the four other guys on the floor have more specialty roles. Deron distributes. Hump gets putbacks and dunks. Brook has post moves like few centers in the NBA. Joe shoots and scores.
Johnson was the go-to guy Friday with Lopez sidelined (a sprained foot will keep the big man out a few games, no big deal). JJ scored 22 to lead the way.
But Wallace’s points were every bit as important, because he was an efficient 7-9, and his shots came with the timer winding down.
Crash is clutch, and the only bad timing in Orlando Friday was for the Magic, who hate their Nets-heavy schedule.