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Wallace will start for Blazers versus Mavs

by: KENT SMITH GERALD WALLACE

Gerald Wallace moves into the starting lineup for the first time as a Trail Blazer in tonight's 7 o'clock game against Dallas at the Rose Garden.

Coach Nate McMillan told the team before this morning's shootaround session Wallace will start and center Marcus Camby will come off the bench.

That means that LaMarcus Aldridge will start at center, with Wallace and Nicolas Batum at forwards and Wesley Matthews and Andre Miller at guards.

Wallace, who came to Portland after a Feb. 23 trade with Charlotte, has played as a reserve in his eight games with the Blazers, averaging 11.4 points and 8.3 rebounds in 31.6 minutes per contest. But Wallace was a starter throughout his 6 1/2 seasons with the Bobcats.

'I'm back to what I've been accustomed to doing since I got to Charlotte,' Wallace, 28, said after the shootaround. 'I feel pretty good about that move. Now I just have to go out there and perform.'

Wallace said he had discussed 'the possibility of me starting' with McMillan a week or two ago.

'It's not a total surprise,' Wallace said. 'I knew it was coming.'

But the expectation was that he would start at small forward in place of Batum, not at power forward. Batum is having recurring problems with a sore ankle, but McMillan said that won't keep him out of the lineup tonight.

Camby, who is being held to a 20-minute limit following Jan. 20 knee surgery, said he is 'fine' with the move.

'Coach (McMillan) is our leader,' Camby said. 'Whatever's best for the team.'