Wallace helps Portland beat Washington 111-76By ANNE M. PETERSON, AP Sports Writer Wednesday, Mar 23, 2011
He had 28 points, his most with the Trail Blazers, in Portland’s 111-76 victory over the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night.
“I think I’ve found a comfort zone as far as playing with the guys, getting a feel for what the guys like to do,” said Wallace, who came to the Blazers via a trade with Charlotte at the deadline last month. “And I think they’re getting comfortable with me out there on the floor.”
LaMarcus Aldridge(notes) had 22 points before sitting for the fourth quarter, and Nicolas Batum(notes) added 22 points and 12 rebounds for the Blazers, who are jockeying for playoff position in the Western Conference as the season winds to a close. Portland moved within a game of Denver for the fifth spot, and a game up on seventh-place New Orleans.
Portland led by as many as 38 points, and the starting lineup scored all but 20 of the team’s points for a fifth straight victory at the Rose Garden.
“We’re getting out and running,” Wallace said. “We’re running the court in transition and we are able to force the turnovers and get to the basket. When things are going like that it makes it a whole lot easier for everybody.”
The Wizards kept the Blazers within reach early, but Portland began to extend the margin midway through the second quarter. Wesley Matthews’(notes) putback dunk made it 48-37, and the Blazers led 62-45 at halftime.
“Gerald going to the basket—they call him ‘Crash’ for a reason,” Aldridge said. “I’ve seen it firsthand. He just runs into people all the time. He gets to the line and he finishes well. He played big for us tonight.”
The Blazers acquired Wallace in a trade with the Bobcats just minutes before the Feb. 24 deadline. Portland sent centers Joel Przybilla(notes) and Sean Marks(notes), forward Dante Cunningham(notes) and two conditional first-round picks to Charlotte.
Wallace, who also rested in the fourth quarter, was one point short of his season high.
After the game, he joked around with Aldridge about an errant pass during the game.
“I’m having fun. The only thing is, I think LaMarcus is mad at me because I can’t throw a lob,” said Wallace, who has been living at a downtown hotel.
Aldridge was jokingly incredulous.
“We’ve got to work on it,” he laughed.
Despite the banter, the Blazers were bracing for a tough stretch starting with the Spurs at home on Friday, then road games next week against Oklahoma City, San Antonio and New Orleans.
Washington was coming off a 98-92 victory at home over New Jersey. The stop in Portland was the first in a five-game road trip: The Wizards are at the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.
NOTES: It was Camby’s 37th birthday. … Jesse and Arthur, the father-son team from the television show “The Biggest Loser,” attended the game. … Washington’s JaVale McGee(notes) had a stunning block on Portland’s Wesley Matthews in the first half. Video of it was already posted on YouTube by the second half. “I thought it was going to be a top 10 dunk, then it turned into a top 10 block,” Aldridge said. … Portland’s 14 steals were a season high. … The Blazers have sold out 150 straight games (regular season and playoffs) at the Rose Garden.