That is, perhaps, the best word that can describe Vince Carter's 48-point performance last night against the New Orleans Hornets in front of a sell-out crowd at the Amway Arena and a nationally televised audience on TNT. For a few hours, all eyes were on Carter as he brought 'Half-Man, Half-Amazing' back from the dead and reminded everyone why general manager Otis Smith made the decision to acquire him in the off-season. For a night like that.
So, how did Carter do it? How was Carter able to score, seemingly, at will?
Click after the jump to find out why.
The pick & roll.
This year - according to Synergy Sports Technology - Carter has been "Very Good" in the pick & roll (0.94 points per possession) with a rank of 81%, so it's no surprise that the majority of his points came from that play-type. But Carter did score in a variety of ways, not just in pick & rolls.
In the first quarter, Carter started the evening off by getting an easy layup off a pass from Dwight Howard in a 4-out/1-in offensive set. Carter passed the ball to Howard in the post, cut to the basket, and voila ... two points. A few possessions later, Carter was able to score on a jumper off a 2/5 pick & roll with Howard. In retrospect, a sign of things to come. Carter, then, followed that up by spotting up for a three in the corner adjacent to the Magic bench after Jameer Nelson dribble penetrated into the lane off a 1/5 pick & roll with Howard. Classic European-style drive and kick basketball.
It was more of the same in the second quarter for Carter, in terms of similar plays that led to additional points. Midway in the period, Carter ran a 2/4 pick & roll with Brandon Bass, forced a switch between James Posey and David West, ran an isolation on West, and scored on a teardrop in the lane. A few minutes later, Carter was able to make another three-pointer in identical fashion as he did the first time - in the same corner as previously mentioned via dribble penetration from Nelson off a 1/5 pick & roll with Howard. The next possession, Carter was able to post up on Julian Wright and make another layup with relative ease.
For those keeping score, that's 14 points in the first half. Modest numbers, to be sure, but only the tip of the iceberg for Carter.
In the second half, Carter exploded for 34 points and almost all of his field goals came exclusively from the pick & roll. Specifically, the 2/5 pick & roll with Howard. For the season, Carter has manned the pick & roll a lot of the time (40%, to be exact) for Orlando so it's no surprise the team ran a heavy diet of pick & rolls. Carter would setup on either the right side of the floor, the middle, or the left and do one of two things: attack the basket or settle for the jumper.
Here's an example:
There will be those who will not be impressed by Carter's performance because it came against New Orleans, a team that ranks 20th in Defensive Rating, but he has proven he can score efficiently against the best defenses in the NBA this year. What Carter hasn't done much of, this season at least, is punish inferior teams like the Hornets. That's what great players do (among other things) and even though Carter hasn't displayed his greatness consistently with the Magic, he has it in his DNA to produce - on a rare occasion - like his 'Vinsanity' alter-ego. Or heck, like LeBron James.
His 48 points on 27 shots confirmed that.