http://www.portlandtribune.com/sports/story.php?story_id=132874529102422500Entering Wednesday night’s Rose Garden date with Houston, Portland was a robust 11-2 at home and an enigmatic 3-9 on the road.
Poster guy for the Blazers’ 180-degree turn away from the friendly confines is Gerald Wallace. In 11 games on the road, Portland’s starting small forward is averaging 8.1 points and 7.6 rebounds. Wallace’s road shooting percentages are unsightly – .337 from the field, .136 from 3-point range and .517 from the free-throw line.
In the first 13 home games, Wallace was averaging 15.7 points and 5.9 rebounds, while shooting .564 from the field, .306 on 3-pointers and .780 at the line.
Wallace’s average playing time is virtually identical – 34.5 minutes on the road, 34.4 minutes at home through Monday’s overtime loss to Oklahoma City.
Why the incredible disparity in performance?
Wallace isn’t sure.
The 10-year NBA veteran says he doesn’t think he has been a home warrior/road weakling throughout his career. The stats bear him out, to some extent (see graphic).
His theory about this season has to do with style of play.
“We play different as a team at home than on the road,” he says. “I feel more connected at home. Sometimes I get lost on the road. I don’t understand my position or place. It’s different.
“We play two styles of ball. At home, we’re more into the open court, running, attacking the basket, which is perfect for me. On the road, we’re at a slow pace. It’s walk-the-ball-up, halfcourt offense. That goes away from what I do best.”
Wallace averaged between 15 and 20 points during his final 5 1/2 seasons with Charlotte. He flourished by slashing and scoring in transition.
“The offense pretty much flowed through me,” he says. “Here, it goes through (LaMarcus Aldridge) in a more halfcourt, post-up system.
“We had Emeka (Okafor) for a couple of years in Charlotte, but we didn’t throw it to the post, where (the defense) had to double-team. We played off our wings. Here, we play more off our bigs. It’s just a different style.”
Wallace is rebounding more in road games than at home, primarily because his offense hasn’t been there.