Brooklyn Nets face the pick they dumped for Gerald Wallace

Steve Dykes-US PRESSWIRE

Will Gerald Wallace guard the kid he was ultimately traded for, Damian Lillard when the Nets face the Trail Blazers Sunday afternoon in Brooklyn? That's but one story line coming our of Sunday's game in Brooklyn.

So who won the Gerald Wallace trade? Both sides appear happy. Wallace and Reggie Evans, acquired using a trade exception from the deal, have become the glue that holds the improving defense together and their energy has been infections. The Trail Blazers have the NBA's highest scoring rookie taken with the Nets draft pick ... and the chances that the Nets would have picked a point guard if they had kept the pick are very small. More likely, they would have a big man like John Henson of North Carolina, who they liked.

As for the game, the young Trail Blazers are hot. They have won four of their last five and over the last two games, Lillard went for a total of 52 points and 11 assists, shooting 18-for-30 overall and 6-for-12 from deep. Portland also has two players who have given the Nets fits over the years: LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum. Both are averaging better than 19 points per. Batum has played poorly the last two games, however, shooting a mere 2-for-12 from deep. The Blazers' two big issues are defensive efficiency (30th in the league) and bench play (five rookies, including two Euros, on the roster).

But Lillard may not be as big a story as Brook Lopez who is becoming more of a presence underneath. As Rod Boone points out, Lopez had more dunks (five) than Blake Griffin (zero) Friday night. It was also the third straight game, and fifth time this season, Boone writes, that Lopez had at least 10 field goals and shot better than 50 percent from the floor. Lopez leads the NBA in field goals per 48 minutes at 13.1. LeBron James is second at 12.8.

Expect to see a little more bench play from the Nets. With three games in four days, Avery Johnson rested Marshon Brooks and Josh Childress,relying heavily on Wallace, who played 38 minutes vs. the Clippers. Toko Shengelia hurt his thumb while lifting Friday night and will be unavailable.

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