Gerald Wallace emerged from the film room Monday afternoon at American Airlines Arena sporting a fresh hairdo and a fresh perspective on the Trail Blazers' best-of-seven Western Conference playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks. Wallace's trademark flowing braids were gone, replaced by a sleek, slicked back crop of hair in a ponytail as the Blazers went through their second practice since a hard-to-swallow 89-81 Game 1 defeat. "Take it down, let it air out," Wallace said of his new look. "Clear your head ... clear your thoughts and get ready for (Tuesday's game)." A clear head is exactly what the Blazers need from Wallace. There's been a wealth of discussion centered on the officiating, the hot shooting of Jason Kidd, the struggles of Wesley Matthews and the Blazers' poor three-point shooting since Saturday night's playoff opener. But if the Blazers are to rebound in Game 2, they will need much more production from Wallace, who was supposed to be an X-factor in this series. Wallace appeared tentative and perplexed in the first half and seemed to force the issue in the second half as the Mavericks' pack-it-in-the-interior defense, coupled with the tenacity of Shawn Marion, held Wallace in check. The Blazers' starting forward made 4 of 13 shots, committed three turnovers and finished with just eight points -- only the seventh time in 24 games with the Blazers he failed to reach double digits. After the game, Wallace called his play "horrible." He elaborated Monday afternoon. "I felt like I blew a chance, I felt like I let my teammates down," Wallace said. "I wasn't productive, especially in the first half. It just seemed like I was in no man's land in the first half. In order for us to win, I've got to be more active and more productive and come out more focused and tuned in on what I've got to do to help my team win." For the most part, the Mavericks played the Blazers straight up on defense -- with Marion on Wallace -- and dared them to make outside shots. They didn't, shooting just 2 of 16 from three-point range. Any time Wallace or a Blazers' guard penetrated the interior, the Mavericks swarmed the paint, clogging driving lanes and swallowing scoring opportunities. The Blazers have spent a healthy chunk of time reviewing the Mavericks' defense on video since Game 1 and they believe the remedy is simple: shoot better and make Dallas pay for single coverage.
Gerald Wallace looks for a fresh start in Game 2
Oregonian | Apr 19