In his first 10 games as part of the Suns, the dry air and high-octane offense in Phoenix seemed to agree with Vince Carter. He averaged 18.9 points per game and appeared comfortable back in his role as high-scoring gunner. A space he occupied for much of his career (you can debate amongst yourselves if that was a detriment to winning or not).
But in the past four games he has averaged 7.5 points per game. Since the Suns are not going to be stopping anyone defensively (dead last in the league in defensive efficiency) they need to be outscoring teams. They need the points.
Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic asked Carter when they might see the scoring phenom side of Carter again.
“I plan on being that,” Carter said of being a go-to scorer, like when he started the trip with 29 points at New York. “In my mind, it was a rough trip. It took me outside of what they want me to do and what I feel I should be…”
“It happens sometimes with a team like this where a lot of guys can score and Grant (Hill) and J.D. (Jared Dudley) are playing well,” Carter said. “It’s all about patience.
“You have to play through it. You have to do the other things regardless.” That’s why I made a conscious effort to rebound the ball until I get myself back.”
Carter is playing through some left knee pain, something he tweaked on a dunk in Philadelphia Monday. That may slow the return of the gunner. Which is bad news for the Suns because they need the Vince Carter of old. They need the points.
A good rule of thumb: If LeBron James is getting few breakaway dunks, the other team is in trouble.
Enter the Toronto Raptors, who got to watch a dunking clinic by LeBron as he had multiple breakaways during the Cavaliers’ 38-point win on Wednesday night. LeBron played well, and the Cavaliers got a balanced attack from their stars — 25 points from Kevin Love, 23 each from LeBron and Kyrie Irving.
Watch LeBron’s night above. Toronto needs to find a way to keep him from having another game like this Friday.
After a beatdown at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 — a loss where he was just 5-of-12 shooting, a loss that has the Raptors on the brink of playoff elimination — Kyle Lowry did what he had to do and went in front of the media to answer questions and try to explain that loss.
But really, his face when he walked into the interview room and saw the box score summed up the Raptors night perfectly.
Lowry and the Raptors need to turn it around and win at home Friday night to keep their playoff dream alive another day.
The Memphis Grizzlies have found their man — Miami Heat assistant coach David Fizdale has been offered the head coaching job in Memphis. He’s a smart coach who earned the trust of elite players and was a key part of the staff that helped Miami to a couple of rings.
It’s a good hire. Don’t just take my word for it, check out what a couple Heat players from that era had to say.
Mario Chalmers had a first-hand view — he was traded from Miami to Memphis in the middle of last season. The point guard who went the other way in that deal, Beno Udrih, also helped push the deal along.
Fizdale is going to be a popular hire with the players. That said, if the Grizzlies can’t keep Mike Conley in free agency the team is going to have struggles this season, regardless of who coaches them.
Before Game 5, Cavaliers’ coach Tyronn Lue told Kevin Love just to stay aggressive. Channing Frye told him the same thing.
Love took that advice to heart. From the opening tip of Game 5, Love was attacking — backing down the overmatched Luis Scola and knocking down threes. Love had 12 points in the first quarter on his way to a game-high 25, helping spark an easy, 38-point Cavaliers win in Game 5.
Now, can Love do this on the road in Game 6?