You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.
- I have often considered, carefully and confusedly, what it means to be Vince Carter (6-10 FG, 4-6 3PT, 23 points) in 2013. I do not mean to imply that any one person can or should deduce clear meaning from the vast spectrum of another person’s life, but I have attempted do so all the same, if only in a strictly basketball context. Vince Carter’s career screams of exclamation points and external haranguing, the peaks of athleticism and the disgust of lethargy. I do not wish to say that “Vince Carter is all of us” or some other broad declaration, but it is fair to say that in some sense, his basketball career has been a drama, one filled with peaks and obscene valleys. Who he is now, after the central drama has settled and our collective thematic gaze has largely turned elsewhere, may be far more interesting than whoever he was once haphazardly thought to be. Now, he is an afterthought in the basketball world, and quite simply, that’s a shame. A quiet resurgence remains a resurgence, whether or not it is illuminated in the light of public spectacle. Our blunt words do not easily describe a state of solidity, constancy, and quality production with any real subtlety. Because while what Carter is doing and has done for the Mavericks this season would likely be described as “solid” from an outsider perspective, it is more than that. It is a careful reform, a moment of late beauty in a not-so-graceful career, a bloom after the basketball harvest. I believe in 2013 Vince Carter, and that is not something I thought I’d ever say.
- 13 of Carter’s 23 points came in the fourth quarter, never more needed and artfully given. Carter rises and makes jumpers that he should not, and perhaps that is the beauty of the newly revitalized fourth quarter guru version of him.
- Dirk Nowitzki (7-13 FG, 19 points, 11 rebounds), played well enough to warrant mention in this space. Of course, he always warrants mention in this space, but I especially enjoy an impressive Dirk rebounding performance.
- When that exists in conjunction with his stalwart mid-range proficiency, well, that’s simply delightful.
- Chris Kaman (0-2 FG, and nothing else) registered no stats other than two minutes played in a game in which he started, which is about as odd and inauspicious as a performance gets. I’m not sure if the injury was the cause of his brief stint, but all the same, this might have been one for the record books in terms of nothingness and the infinite beyond.
- Tonight highlights the Mavericks’ recent trend of sterling offensive performances. This season’s team holds contrast in comparison to teams of years past, as victory often only comes on instances of offensive glory like this. Defensive victories are an unfortunate rarity, but on tenuous nights when the Mavericks make half of their field goal attempts, it doesn’t matter.
- To close this recap, here is an effective joke and an interesting statistic. We like to cover every demographic here at The Two Man Game.