DALLAS, TX - DECEMBER 20: John Salmons #25 of the Toronto Raptors scrambles for the ball against Vince Carter #25 of the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center on December 20, 2013 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Earlier this season I used Vince Carter as my personal piñata. In a Mavs’ season that stumbled out of the gate, the 37-year-old was an easy target.
“Every time he takes a step-back jumper,” I groaned, “the Mavs’ organization takes a step back with him.”
Don’t look now, but Carter’s playing better. Much better. So good, in fact, that it’s time for me to issue a temporary apology.
Bolstered by the returns of Brandan Wright and Devin Harris, Carter has been significant cog in the Mavs fantastic February in which they’ve gone 9-2. The Sixth Man contributed another 17 points in last night’s romp over the Pelicans that pushed the Mavs a season-high 13 games over .500 and up to 6th place in the Western Conference.
Once a liability, Carter is now a firm asset.
He’s rebounding. He’s making shots. He’s running deft pick-and-rolls with Wright. He helped keep the Mavs afloat Monday night in New York with a season-high 23 points, setting the stage for Dirk Nowitzki’s dramatic game-winner.
The Mavs have found a rhythm against lessor opponents. Dirk is heating up. Samuel Dalembert is waking up. Wayne Ellington and his outside shooting are taking minutes from the disappointing Jae Crowder. Carter is turning back the clock, and making his critics eat their words.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently writes a sports/guy stuff blog at DFWSportatorium.com and lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.