The Pacers took advantage of the atrocious play of Vince Carter and the rest of the Nets “big three” and won a nail biter Sunday afternoon. Vince Carter doomed the Nets today with his poor shot selection. In the first quarter Carter jacked up 10 of Nets first 20 shots but he only hit two shots while his teammates went 7 for 10 from the field. Instead of taking a break from shooting the rock Carter continued to chuck up shots and at one point was 3 for 16 in the first half.
Meanwhile, the man guarding Carter was ripping him apart on the defensive end as well. Stephen Jackson went 7 for 10 from the field and had 16 points in the first half to lead all scorers. Jackson stopped shooting the rock in the second half and finished with 18 points in the game.
Luckily for Pacers fans Jermaine O’Neal finally woke up in the second half and helped take over the scoring load for the team. Heading into the fourth quarter O’Neal only had 4 points but he exploded in the fourth quarter for 11 points on an array of jump shots and dunks. O’Neal doesn’t look like he’s healthy but he battled this afternoon like a warrior and did what his team needed to sneak out a win.
The Pacers would have run away with the game in the fourth if it hadn’t of been for the inspired play of Carter. After getting beat up in the first three quarters Carter started to play with a chip on his shoulder and elected to start attacking the rim rather than rely on three point attempts and fade away jump shots. Carter was able to score 12 points in the fourth quarter but it wasn’t enough to make up for his abysmal shooting earlier in the game.
Aside from Richard Jefferson the only other bright spot for the Nets today was Nenad Krstic. The youngster played an inspired game for New Jersey and finished the game with 22 points and 6 boards. As has been the case throughout most of this season Krstic found himself in foul trouble early in the game and it prevented him from playing aggressively in the fourth quarter.
Get used to this Nets fans, Vince Carter usually chokes in playoff games. What makes Carter’s poor play worrisome for Nets fans is that the rest of the “big three” all had off games as well. Jason Kidd had 8 dimes but he went 2 for the 11 from the field and finished with just 5 points. Richard Jefferson played a strong game as he went 6 for 11 from the field and finished with19 points but he looked invisible for large stretches of the game. For the Nets to be successful it’s clear that they will need to have Kidd be more aggressive with the rock, Jefferson needs more shots and Carter needs to play with passion and a fire in his belly.
Unfortunately for Nets fans I can guarantee that Carter doesn’t have the maturity to shoot less. All Cater is concerned about is himself and getting on ESPN than he is about doing what it takes for his team to win. After watching how he conducted himself in Toronto I may come off as a bitter fan, but, mark my words, Carter will never be the kind of player that can put the team ahead of himself. Nets fans only need to look at the 33 shot attempts to back up these claims. Come on Vince, when you are ice cold shooting the rock you need to pass to your teammates. Carter finished the game with 31 points which will look impressive to fans scanning a boxscore but shooting 36% from the field and 12.5% from beyond the arc is selfish and won’t help a team win basketball games.
Sun 04/23/06, 12:16 pm EST