AP Photo/Reinhold Matay
When Sunday arrived and the Orlando Magic faced off against the Charlotte Bobcats in Game 1, it was generally assumed that Vince Carter was going to do what he’s been doing for the past few months. What’s that?
Play good basketball.
It’s no coincidence that the Magic took off in the second half of the regular season and performed — statistically, at least — like the best team in the NBA, in large part because Carter had settled in comfortably as the No. 2 option alongside Dwight Howard. Carter dominated games for stretches at a time (see his 48-point performance against the New Orleans Hornets), performed efficiently, and played exactly the way everyone envisioned he would play when he was acquired in the off-season by general manager Otis Smith. By contrast, when Carter struggled in January, it was because he settled for jumpers, played passively, and generally looked out of sorts.
So, when Orlando needed offense from someone not named Rashard Lewis or Jameer Nelson, especially in the second half, Carter tried to pick up the slack but the results weren’t pretty. To be frank, they were downright awful.
The question that many people are asking, of course, is why did Carter struggle on offense? What did Carter do wrong?