For the better part of his career, Vince Carter has been known by the moniker “Half Man, Half Amazing.” Originally, the nickname spoke to his incredible athletic feats and his ability to score in a Jordanesque variety of ways – whether it be thunderous dunks, three point bombs, or an assortment of spinning, hanging, and generally ridiculously layups in traffic. However more recently, as Carter’s athleticism has given way to injury and age, the nickname has become a reminder of his ability to disappear from games, sometimes for long stretches. When Carter was traded for by the Orlando Magic to replace Hedo Turkoglu, critics and analysts claimed it was an upgrade at the position – even though Turkoglu had been the Magic’s best player in the Conference Finals. Up until two games ago, Carter was making the critics and analysts look like fools. He had averaged only 16 points, and 4 rebounds per game. He was shooting below 40% from the field. Up until two games ago.
On Sunday, February 7th, the Magic were struggling mightily against the Boston Celtics. Carter was the player keeping them in the game until the Magic were able to put together their dominant third quarter performance that sealed the victory for them. Carter scored 20 points that game, on just 13 shots, hitting seven of them. He hit three of four three pointers, and posted three rebound, three assists, and a big block.
Then, on Monday February 8th, Vincanity infected Orlando, Florida. With the Magic trailing by 15 points to a hot-shooting New Orleans Hornets team, Carter went off. He scored 48 points on 27 shots, including six of ten from three point land. He drove relentlessly to the bucket and provided virtually all of the Magic’s big shots. He also grabbed seven rebounds. It was easily Carter’s most meaningful performance of his career. He was just three shy of his career scoring high. But more importantly, it kept the momentum going for a team with some very real NBA Championship aspirations – something he has never done before in his career.
For the first half of the 2009-2010 season, Vince Carter looked like a mere mortal, just a man. His last two performances make you wonder if it’s time for the amazing half to come out and play. The Orlando Magic sure hope so. The Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, and Cleveland Cavaliers are looking on, feeling a little worried about what they see.
Let’s finish this post off with a trip down memory lane, for the most amazing assortments of dunks put together in one contest, from the night the All Star Dunk Contest was brought back from the dead.