When the Mavs signed Vince Carter, they viewed him as the kind of aging offensive player who still had enough skills to help them win a playoff game - or series. You know, kind of like Peja Stojakovic last season against the Lakers.
Well, for a quarter it looked like Carter might be able to provide that kind of spark against Oklahoma City.
He scored seven points in the first quarter, including a Vinsanity flashback - he drove through the lane and powered home a one-handed dunk in traffic - and a corner three with nine seconds left in the quarter.
The spurt ended a stretch of seven consecutive points that pulled the Mavs within 32-26, entering the second quarter.
He didn’t score again.
Carter finished two of eight from the field in 27 minutes in Dallas' 95-79 loss.
We shouldn’t really be surprised.
The Mavs have eight players in their 30s, and it showed during Game 3 and the season. Their bodies didn’t respond to the NBA’s compact schedule - 66 games in 123 days - and they haven’t been able to get all of their older guys playing well at the same time in the playoffs.
That’s what happens to older players. They lose the consistency that made them stars in their prime. They can dominate for spurts as Carter did for a few minutes in Game 3, but it’s difficult for them to maintain that high level of performance for a game or a series.
Here are three more areas of interest heading into Friday:
Three-headed center: Once again, the Mavs received virtually nothing from the center position and it played a role in their demise. Brendan Haywood, Ian Mahinmi and Brandan Wright combined to score nine points and grab eight rebounds in 30 minutes, but had no positive impact on the game. Haywood, the starting center, played just seven minutes.
Jason Kidd: The NBA's quintessential point guard is a facilitator by nature, but the Mavs’ stagnant offense turned him into a shooter in Game 3. That’s never, ever a good sign. Kidd, who made just four of 18 shots in the series’ first two games, finished second on the team with 12 points, while taking a season-high 12 shots. Kidd made two of his six three-point attempts. When Kidd is that involved in shooting and scoring, the Mavs rarely win.
Jason Terry has no impact: After three games, Jason Terry has had one great half, and that occurred in Game 1. He’s been a non-factor in the other five halves of this series. Terry scored 11 points on three of 12 shooting with six assists and three rebounds, but Mark Cuban pays him to score. Without his scoring, the Mavs had no chance.