Rasheed Wallace said after the opener he had embraced his "Brian Scalabrine role.'' But in New York parlance, it is the Herb Williams role — until at least Wallace gets into better game shape.

The "Ra-sheed Wall-ace'' chants poured down again as garbage time approached, resounding with five minutes left and the Knicks up 12. Coach Mike Woodson, for the second straight game, didn't hesitate and got Wallace in with 3:40 left to the crowd's delight. In Williams' final years as a Knick, "Herb" chants resonated — the signal garbage time was at hand.

Wallace didn't disappoint as he grabbed a tough rebound to cheers, then hitting a difficult post-up in the lane.

Asked why he thinks the fans are chanting his name, Wallace said he's part of "the dog and pony show'' but that they also like his effort.

"They know I play hard and play with passion and emotion," he said after the Knicks' 100-84 victory over the 76ers Sunday at the Garden. "That's what fans here cheer with — that passion, emotion and grittiness. It goes hand in hand.''