Wallace returned from a wrist injury to score 24 points and grab nine rebounds, leading the Bobcats over the New York Knicks 108-95 Wednesday night.
Wallace, who had missed six games with a chip fracture in his right wrist, made three 3-pointers, blocked a shot and dunked on an alley-oop pass from Brevin Knight as the Bobcats outscored the Knicks 23-11 in the first seven minutes of the third quarter to take a 19-point lead.
“I made the first one and I was willing to shoot the second one,” said Wallace, a career 24 percent 3-point shooter. “I said I would keep shooting until I miss.”
After the Knicks cut a 22-point deficit to 11 early in the fourth quarter, Wallace put it out of reach by hitting consecutive 3s to make it 98-79 with 5:39 left.
“Obviously, in the scouting report, I’m sure it says he’s not a 3-point shooter,” Wallace said. “I don’t think they were in any hurry to run out there. I’m sure they thought the first one was luck, the second one was luck. I mean, I thought the first one was luck. But when they’re falling, they’re falling.”
Wallace, who played with a wrap on his wrist, was 5-of-8 on 3-pointers. Known more as a slasher, Wallace had never attempted more than four 3s in a game.
“We didn’t expect Wallace to come and shoot like he did,” Knicks guard Jamal Crawford said. “He hit some shots while we were making a run, but we shouldn’t have been in that position.”
Stephon Marbury scored 21 points for the Knicks, who were held without a field goal for more than five minutes in the third quarter, and committed 22 turnovers.
It was the most points given up by New York since Larry Brown became coach.
“Turnovers were huge, they got over 20 more shots than we did,” Brown said. “They killed us on the offensive boards. When you take those things into consideration, you’re going to have problems.”
The Knicks played without starting center Eddy Curry, who has a strained left calf. With Jerome James still out with a hamstring injury, Antonio Davis moved from power forward to center and Maurice Taylor started at power forward.
With Melvin Ely also returning to the lineup after missing five games with a sore left shin, it was the first time this season the Bobcats were entirely healthy and they fed of Wallace’s energy.
“I didn’t expect the 3s. Don’t make him feel too good about the 3s, but the energy is what he brings,” Bickerstaff said. “Offensive boards, steals, dunks, and he’s a guy that you don’t have to call any plays for. You appreciate guys like that.”
Brown hinted Curry may also miss Saturday’s game against Philadelphia, saying he’ll be cautious not to rush him back. … The Bobcats, in conjunction with local radio station WFNZ, collected more than $13,300 and 2,000 turkeys from fans outside the arena Wednesday. The proceeds will be donated to area charities. … Brown, a North Carolina alumnus whose mother lives in Charlotte, had high praise in his first trip to the city’s new arena. “It’s great, it’s in North Carolina,” Brown joked. “They did a good job incorporating it within the city.”