Orlando’s Desperate Plea to Vince Carter

Fans and media of the Magic know Vince can’t have a similar performance to his sorry Game 4 showing if the Magic are to extend the Eastern Conference Finals past tonight. From the Orlando Sentinel: “You can have a bad night and still find ways to win, but it still bothers me,’ Carter said of his horrid 1-of-9 shooting, 3-point effort in the Magic’s season-salvaging 96-92 overtime victory over the Boston Celtics in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals Monday night. ‘I told my teammates that I owe them one.’ Actually, Carter owes Jameer Nelson, Dwight Howard, J.J. Redick and Co. way more than that. Those guys didn’t just save the season; they gave Carter yet another chance to save his legacy. Can you imagine the outcry if Carter had performed so pitifully and the Magic had lost Game 4 and been swept out of the playoffs? Magic GM Otis Smith would have instantaneously been transformed from one of the league’s most astute personnel evaluators back into the bonehead who drafted Fran Vazquez. All we would have heard from Magic fans is a steady string of, ‘Why did we give up Hedo Turkoglu blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.’ But Smith and Carter now get a reprieve in Game 5 tonight at Amway Arena. If the Magic lose, the season is obviously over. Worse yet — and I don’t think I’m overstating this — if the Magic lose, Carter will be doomed to an eternal fate as one of the most underachieving players in NBA history. This is your time, Vince. This is your town. You grew up as a kid in Central Florida wanting to lead the Orlando Magic to a championship Well, this is your chance to help orchestrate the most historic comeback in the history of the NBA. Your team needs you now, Vince, in the worst way.”