DALLAS -- So much for Vince Carter’s concern about coming back rusty after a five-game layoff.
All Carter did after returning from a sore foot was light it up as soon as he stepped on the floor, which was a heck of a lot sooner than he anticipated.
Carter, who had been out with a sprained left foot, got the call from Rick Carlisle when Jason Kidd strained his right calf just more than two minutes into the game. Carter drove for an eight-footer on the next possession and knocked down a long jumper the next trip, finishing with eight of his 12 points in the first quarter.
“I felt like a kid in a candy store,” said Carter, who got to the arena earlier than usual to work up a sweat and try to get in a rhythm on the Mavs’ practice court. “I was expecting to do the heat pack, take my time, mentally prepare. They were like, ‘Let’s go,’ so I was like, ‘Let’s go for it.’ But I felt good.”
Carter played much more than he anticipated with Kidd and Delonte West (hamstring) sideline, logging 28 minutes. He acknowledged that all those minutes took their toll, but he felt relatively fresh all things considered.
“I was ready to go,” said Carter, who also had four rebounds and three assists. “I wasn’t going to come back if I wasn’t ready to go and hurt the team.”
A few more notes from the injury-depleted Dallas squad’s convincing win:
1. Brendan Haywood plays big: This was such a well-rounded performance by the Mavs that a double-double by the big man was an under-the-radar occurrence. This might have been Haywood’s best performance of the season. He scored 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting, grabbed 12 rebounds (seven offensive) and blocked two shots. He more than held his own against Jazz low-post beast Al Jefferson, who finished with 19 points on 9-of-19 shooting. “Haywood was a force,” coach Rick Carlisle said.
2. Jet finds his range: Jason Terry snapped out of a pretty nasty slump from 3-point range. He knocked down three of five 3-point attempts during an 18-point performance, highlighted by a clutch off-the-dribble trey after the Jazz trimmed the Mavs’ lead to two points late in the third quarter. Terry was 4-of-28 from behind the arc in the previous four games.
3. Welcome back, J-Ho: This was Josh Howard ’s first game back at the AAC, and well, he picked up right where he left off. Howard, who was injured every time Washington came to town when he was with the Wizards, had as many turnovers as field goals (two). He went 2-of-8 from the floor. Hey, you can’t control what the ball do, man.