The Orlando Magic had tremendous balance on the offensive end last night, as they took what appears to be an insurmountable 2-0 series lead over the Atlanta Hawks. Four of the five starters scored over 20 points, but it’s one in particular that has the fans and media in Orlando excited about the team’s chances.
Vince Carter’s breakout performance of 24 points/7 boards (with 20 points coming in the second half) has those who believe in the Magic puffing out their chests a bit, and getting their championship hopes up.
As for Vince himself, he says he doesn’t have to do as much now as he did in the past, when teams counted on him to dominate on a nightly basis.
These days, he simply picks his spots. From the Orlando Sentinel:
Now, because he’s on a title contender with multiple weapons, he largely probes. He observes the terrain. Take Game 2 against Atlanta: The Hawks were corralling him, making him give up the ball. He passed it around the horn. Teammates started hitting shots. He saw the driving lanes open — and he blitzed the coverages for two dunks.
“I was just trying to make plays; just patience is the most important thing,” he said. “It worked out for me.” He stumbles along at times — like a 1-of-4, 4-point first-half — and then Vince lapses into Vinsanity. Like scoring 20 points in the second half, and 11 in the final quarter, the Magic needing all of them to stave off the Hawks in Game 2 Thursday night. He was a vintage closer.
“It’s who I am,” said Carter, who finished the second half shooting 8-of-11. “It’s who I’ve been for a long time. I didn’t want it to be any different coming here with this wonderful team with a lot of scorers.”
The Orlando Magic have incredible depth, with multiple guys being able to carry the offensive load any given night. It’s when they all click — last night, for instance — that the team becomes truly frightening, and perhaps the favorite to win it all.
Going forward in this postseason, Vince Carter won’t be able to pick his spots as much; Orlando will rely on him more and more as the level of competition increases.
Can he deliver for his team by morphing into “Vinsanity” consistently? We’ll soon find out.