Poor Vince Carter, and The Pop of Patrick Ewing
Poor Vince Carter. Above, he can be seen shooting a basketball before a recent meeting between his team and the Washington Wizards in the District of Columbia. He didn’t play in said game against the Wizards, as Carter is wont to do — not play in games due to injury, that is.
Poor Vince Carter. He’s getting paid $17 million this year. He’s previously quit on a team from Canada according to some (Like A Bosh), he could keep his current team, the Orlando Magic, from winning a championship, and he seemed to be ever so slightly perturbed that the photographer taking these pictures, aka me, was taking these pictures.
“They’re supposed to be out here already?,” blabbered Carter to an assistant coach. I appeased the man by walking away upon detection of his annoyance at such a disturbance. Sorry Vince.
I guess it was just too much for Carter to stomach, as he is currently not exposed to opposing crowds aiming to thwart his jump shot attempts with noise. The soft clicking of photos being taken. From a distance. For a couple minutes. What a distraction. Poor Vince Carter.
Who will understand Carter’s plight? Maybe Patrick Ewing will.
Here, Snacktrick Ewing (get it? /zinger) can be seen, snacking on a Sprite and some packaged crackers, but he did not make an appearance as Patrick Chewing, the Snickers aficionado. He ate some Pop Tarts during the photo shoot below. I remember Pop Tarts from the old country/days, you could eat them hot, you could eat them cold, you could eat them court side before an NBA game.
Top Wizards-Magic Quotes:
Whatever concern there was over Arenas’s fitness or confidence or aggression or over-dependence on his jump shot or maybe even his redemption story itself, he’s putting those questions to rest.
Yes, his 3-pointer was not falling (1-for-6), and there had to be some surprise down the stretch that he didn’t find a way to get the ball into scorching hot Nick Young’s hands instead of taking it himself repeatedly. But Arenas did score the Wizards’ final nine points with a variety of jump shots and drives. By the final seconds, he’d earned the chance to go for the game-winner.
Maybe I’m more annoyed about the poor first half if this team wasn’t rebuilding. But it is, and you expect lulls like that. In the end, they went toe-to-toe with one of the East’s best, without three players in the top eight of the rotation, and lost on a fluke’y air ball. Arenas had a very good game, Nick Young got hot, and Alonzo Gee provided something. It was exciting, it was fun and it was still a good learning experience. Make fun of that attitude all you want, but that’s my feeling about tonight’s loss.
To put it simply, the Magic’s effort and energy was pathetic. Just as Orlando went through the motions against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, that’s what they did last night. Hustle stats like steals, rebounds, and block shots, which usually provide a clue as to which team is playing with more passion, were in the Wizards’ favor.
I didn’t find myself enamored with the Magic’s gameplan, but maybe that speaks more to the Wizards’ focus on defense than anything else. This team doesn’t do much well on that end, and Howard still hung 32 on them. But the Wizards at least made him work for those points. The Magic got a bit stagnant watching Howard pound the ball into the floor with his back to the basket, often in single-coverage, as coach Flip Saunders firmly discourages double-teaming. He had success defending Howard in this way during his days helming the Detroit Pistons, though that team had better low-post defenders. The Magic scored an efficient 100 points, but few of them came easily.
On the very first Magic possession, Howard beat McGee to the spot to receive an interior pass, drew the foul, and finished off the glass. On another possession inside the game’s first two minutes, Howard established body position in the paint closest to the basket and received a high-low pass from J.J. Redick for an easy layup while McGee, his back to the passer, flailed helplessly in Howard’s wake. Moments later, McGee was substituted from the game after committing a silly traveling violation in the backcourt.
“He made some mistakes early,” Wizards head coach Flip Saunders said of McGee. “I thought he was a little hyped up.” Earlier, prior to the game, Saunders had called McGee’s situation in guarding Howard a “Catch-22.”