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Best Game Ever: Vince Carter had the answer for Allen Iverson

New Jersey Nets forward Vince Carter, right, points out someone to Philadelphia 76ers’ Allen Iverson before a game in April 2005.
New Jersey Nets forward Vince Carter, right, points out someone to Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson before a game in April 2005.
(Bill Kostroun / Associated Press)

Dan Woike asked NBA players to tell us about the best game in their basketball career. This week: Vince Carter.

May 11, 2001: Toronto 102, Philadelphia 78

50 points, 19-29 FG, 9-13 3FG, 6 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 blocked shots

Carter has had a lot of highlights in a career that will span four decades once he steps on the court in 2020. Before he became a symbol of longevity, Carter was a player who could do damage above the rim and beyond the three-point line. He might never have been hotter than in 2001 when Allen Iverson and the 76ers forced Carter to respond during a seven-game playoff series that was tied 1-1.

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“Well, one of my best games was a summer game where I scored 60 or something, but I remember that number more than I remember the game so I don’t want to count that. I had a game in the Rucker too. And there was a game where I scored 51 in Miami, of all places, against a Gary Payton team.

“And then there’s the one in the playoffs versus the Sixers when A.I. and I were going back and forth. I scored 50 that game. That was probably it, my most memorable, because of the back-and-forth with one another, making threes — a need game, a response game, if you would, after a tough loss the game before. [Iverson] went for 54. Being the best player on the floor, it was like, ‘A.I. was the best player on the floor, and his team did what they needed to do on their floor. What are you going to do about that?’ I felt like I had to respond. It didn’t have to be a 50-point game. You just had to find a way for your team to win. Well, it turned out to be a 50-point game. ...

“You hit the first three, get a bucket and it’s like, ‘Cool.’ I made like eight in the first half. I remember coming off a pick and just shooting really quick. I didn’t have my hips or head around, and it went in. And then I hit the next three. And then there was a missed shot, I tipped the ball in the air to myself, I’m running to the far corner, my shorts are falling down and I’m trying to hold my legs wide. And I caught it and shot the three and I made that. That’s when I know this is one of those games.”

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