Follow the Nets' return to New York with Newsday's Rod Boone.
Gerald Wallace out for second straight game
MIAMI -- Gerald Wallace will miss his second straight game when the Nets meet the Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena Wednesday night.
Wallace continues to nurse the sprained left ankle he suffered at the tail end of Saturday’s season-opening win against the Raptors. He’s shed the walking boot and seemed to be moving well around the locker room prior to the Nets' shootaround, though he declined to comment.
Avery Johnson, who wouldn’t reveal who’ll start in Wallace’s place, said the Nets’ veteran swingman remains day-to-day. He suggested they’ll see where Wallace’s health is at in two more days when they play the Magic in Orlando.
“We’ll keep treating him,” Johnson said. “We’ll see if we can get him moving a little bit in shootaround on Friday and see where he is. He’s day-to-day. He’s improving. But he’s not improving at a rate where we can play games.”
Asked if he remains convinced the injury will keep Wallace, one of the team’s best defensive players, sidelined for days and not weeks, Johnson said: “Yeah, days.”
The Nets could surely use Wallace against the Heat, particularly guarding LeBron James. Wallace’s athleticism and length can’t be replaced, and the Nets would’ve had their hands full with the defending champs anyway.
James said he’s not sure how Wallace’s absence will affect how the Nets decide to guard him.
“He’s a good player, really good player,” James said. “I don’t know what it does for their team. They haven’t been together that long to know what it does to their team. But my approach to the game doesn’t change no matter who is out on the floor. I’m the same guy no matter what.”
But he admitted Wallace is a solid defensive weapon.
"He’s a good defender,” James said. “You understand when you’re going into a game that you have to be careful with the ball. He’s very quick. He plays the passing lanes, and he’s always in attack mode as well. When he’s out on the court guarding you, you take account for him, but I don’t disrespect any defenders that I go against.
“But I also know that it’s not the guy in front of me. I don’t believe there’s one guy that can stop me one-on-one. There’s always a line behind them that’s protecting them as well. So I’m always looking at the second and third tiers of defenses when I’m coming up the floor.”