Carter’s collision sparks Magic’s win over Bucks
By ANTONIO GONZALEZ
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) Vince Carter took
a shoulder to the head by Ersan Ilyasova, hit the floor hard and rolled
up under the courtside seats grimacing in pain.
The arena fell silent. Fans sitting
in the area checked to see if they could help. Nearly everyone stood to
see how hurt the Orlando Magic’s star offseason acquisition was. About
3 minutes later, still shaken, Carter finally stood up.
Then so did the Magic.
Carter overcame the hard collision to
score 25 points, rallying the Magic for a 117-92 victory over the
Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night.
“I felt real dizzy, so I wanted to
just lay there for a second and let everything get back together,”
Carter said. “Next thing you know, everything was lined up correctly.”
Carter shook off the pain and never
exited, igniting a 17-2 run after the play late in the third quarter
that helped Orlando pull away.
Dwight Howard had 17 points and 10
rebounds, and Jason Williams added 16 points to help Orlando rebound
from its Christmas Day loss to Boston.
Brandon Jennings had 20 points, and
Andrew Bogut had 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Bucks, who lost for
the seventh time in their last eight games.
“We let them get going a bit and the basket started looking like an ocean to some of their shooters,” Bogut said.
Carter’s big collision was the Magic spark.
Ilyasova was trying to take a charge
but was called for a block. Carter clutched the right side of his head
and neck, pulled his jersey over his head, lying on the ground four
rows from his mother in the stands.
“He gave me a scare,” his mother,
Michelle Carter-Scott, said as she exited the arena. “I kept thinking,
‘Get up, get up, get up.’ Thank God he did.”
Perhaps fired up that Carter never
left the game, the Magic scored 13 straight points during the run to
end the quarter with a 79-74 lead. Carter made two jumpers during that
stretch, and Matt Barnes hit a pair of 3-pointers – seven straight
Orlando made from beyond the arc – to help the Magic set a second-half
franchise record with 78.4 percent shooting from the floor.
“I actually thought Coach was going
to take me out,” Carter said. “I was sitting on one knee just trying to
gain my composure and I look and he said, ‘All right, Vince, you’re
going to take the ball out.’ I said, ‘All right, keep it going.'”
Lost in the frantic rally was
another poor outing by Magic starting point guard Jameer Nelson. He was
just 1 for 7 and hasn’t yet found his rhythm since returning from
arthroscopic left knee surgery.
Nelson said he was dealing with a
“family issue” the night before and has struggled with the limited
practice minutes trainers have him on for his rehab. It doesn’t help
that Williams has been playing well in his absence.
“I do think we’re going to have to evaluate where we’re at with Jameer,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said.
The Bucks never recovered from the big second-half push.
Until the collision, they seemed to have the right formula.
Bogut was aggressive early and got
Howard in foul trouble in the first and second quarters. He took
advantage with Howard sidelined, helping the Bucks score 10 straight
points to take a 21-11 lead in the opening quarter.
Orlando was able to keep it close.
Carter’s one-handed layup with his
back to the basket over Bogut wowed the home crowd, but that would be
about the only highlight for the Magic in the half. Bogut and the
Bucks’ frontline twice disrupted alley-oop dunks by Howard, and they
held Orlando to 1-for-9 shooting from 3-point range to go ahead 49-41.
“We needed some more resistance out
of Andrew,” Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. “We had trouble in the
painted area. We threw up a lot of shots in the painted area and we
just didn’t make them.”
NOTES: Thursday night was the
19-year anniversary of Skiles’ NBA-record 30 assists during the Magic’s
155-116 victory against Denver. Skiles, who spent five seasons with
Orlando, said there’s hardly a place he goes where people don’t ask
about that game. “No offense, but I’ll be glad the day it is (broken)
because I get kind of tired of talking about it some times,” Skiles
said. “It’s one of those things where it all came together in one
night. Yeah, it’ll be broken at some point.” … Some of the Bucks
staff attended the Champs Sports Bowl on Tuesday night, when Wisconsin
beat Miami 20-14.
Updated December 30, 2009