Vince Carter is not “Half Man, Half Amazing” these days but he still can amaze .
Carter became the first 40-year-old reserve to score at least 20 points in a game when he outscored LeBron James on Wednesday to help his Sacramento Kings beat Cleveland.
After not playing for three consecutive games with a rib injury, Carter made 10 of 12 shots to score 24 points — 21 more than his average — in 30 minutes. He added five rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal.
Carter, who now has three 20-point games as a 40-year-old, will turn 41 on Jan. 26 but plans to continue playing beyond this season.
Kings teammate Harry Giles, 19, was two months old when Carter was drafted in 1998. Carter has gone from high-flying dunker to All-Star scorer to a veteran who mentors players like Giles and still can score in bunches, just with angles instead of leaps.
Let ’em fly
Stephen Curry, James Harden and Eric Gordon are the players you expect to shoot three-pointers more than anyone in the NBA.
But amid the league’s increasing reliance on three-pointers, teams are unleashing reserve shooters to take three-pointers with the same frequency as the stars. Orlando’s Marreese Speights, Phoenix’s Troy Daniels, Toronto’s C.J. Miles and Miami’s Wayne Ellington are reserves averaging more than 10 three-point attempts per 36 minutes, just like Curry, Harden and Gordon do. The only other regulars averaging nine three-point attempts or more per 36 minutes are more reserves — San Antonio’s Davis Bertans, Golden State’s Nick Young and Detroit’s Langston Galloway.
Ellington plays less than half of most games but he is averaging double-digit scoring with career-high three-point shooting at age 30 for Miami, his seventh NBA stop.
Durant for DPOY?
The sentiment that Golden State’s Kevin Durant could go from never being picked for the All-Defensive Team to winning defensive player of the year is gaining credence.
Two-time winner Kawhi Leonard missed one-third of the season for San Antonio. Utah’s Rudy Gobert is on his second extended injury absence.
Draymond Green, who probably still deserves to be defensive player of the year front-runner, is voting for Durant rather than politicking for a repeat honor.
It is a striking development in Durant’s game, going from a four-time scoring champ to a player whose defense has been lifted by the Golden State culture and his will to improve. He can guard every front court position, protect the rim and defend elite wing scorers.
Durant is on pace to pass his blocked shot total from last season (99) by the All-Star break. As a team, Golden State would set an NBA record if it continues to block 8.6 shots per game.
In Nike’s first season as the NBA’s jersey designer and supplier, the looks have been increasingly more interesting.
The fourth line unveiled Wednesday was the “City Edition,” giving teams a look that draws on the culture of their hometown or franchise.
Los Angeles’ teams feature some of the best looks with the San Diego-influenced Clippers jerseys and the Lakers uniforms with “Black Mamba” snakeskin print.
For city influences, Philadelphia has a popular jersey with a Declaration of Independence parchment color and “Phila” script. The Nets have lines like the Brooklyn Bridge wiring. The Warriors included Chinese heritage with a dragon and lettering. The Pacers have Indianapolis 500 checkering. Memphis paid tribute to the 1968 Sanitation Workers Strike.
For franchise influences, the Celtics have a gray parquet floor-like print. Portland has a plaid pattern resembling a Jack Ramsey coat with “ripcity” on the front. The Kings brought back baby blue with a lion logo.