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The Ben Wallace Factor

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Stan McNeal of the Sporting News makes the following point:

Wallace played exceptional defense when matched against Kevin Garnett in Game 1. Garnett was unable to get off a turnaround jumper without Wallace’s hand in his face, and Garnett also had trouble driving around the Cavs’ big man. Smith was defending when Garnett easily got to the rim for the Game 1 winner. Smith was inserted for offense, but the Cavs missed a late scoring opportunity and the Celtics took advantage by posting Garnett and not calling timeout. Without Wallace on the bench, Garnett had little resistance getting to the rim against Smith.

On the flip side, when Wallace was in the game, Garnett was able to roam like an extra defender on LeBron because of the Celtics’ disrespect for Wallace’s offense. So do the Cavaliers go more with Smith and his jumper or Wallace and his defensive footwork? You’ll know they’ve decided on Wallace if the score doesn’t surpass the low 80s.