Two nights ago, Vince Carter barreled into the lane, with his team down two, and a chance to seal the series against Toronto.
Earlier in the same play, he had also given up the ball.
My knee-jerk reaction, seeing it in real time, was to say EARTH TO VINCE! IT'S STAR TIME! DO SOMETHING! You're in Toronto, against your former team! You will never get a better chance to stick it to them!
But then they showed the slow motion replay. And you know what? He didn't have much going on in the lane. The defense was all over him.
New Jersey ended up with a sweet look. Bostjan Nachbar can shoot. He was wide open. And it was for the win.
So what that Nachbar missed? All you can do is play it perfectly. Everyone misses sometimes. Big deal.
As far as I'm concerned, Carter played it perfectly. If Nachbar's shot had gone in, as it has so many times in the recent past, we'd all be calling Vince a genius.
Lawrence Frank agrees. Steve Adamek of the Bergen Record reports:
"Vince made the exact right play," Frank said before bristling a bit at the second-guessing of Carter's decision.
"I don't think coaches [do] this as much as maybe media, [but] there is a double standard that rides in that when star players pass the ball, it's not the right play. And yet, when they shoot a shot against a double team, then they should've passed it.
"The bottom line is, you make the right play. The rhetorical example is obviously Michael Jordan passing it to Paxson, passing it to Kerr. If they miss the shots, are people going to criticize Michael Jordan? Probably so.
"You've just got to trust your gut, trust your teammates and make the right play. The right play was to pass it to [Nachbar]."
UPDATE: Worth noting, Jordan didn't actually pass to John Paxson on that famous play. He passed to Scottie Pippen, who passed to Horace Grant, who got the assist.