Phoenix Suns practice report: Alvin Gentry likes Vince Carter as late-game shooter


PHOENIX — Early Tuesday morning fellow Valley of the Suns contributor Mike Schmitz listed out his reasons for Phoenix’s lack of success in game-deciding scenarios.

One point made was that the Suns still have no go-to guy down the stretch in a close game.

Schmitz went on to say the newly acquired Vince Carter could/should be that guy.

Well, from the sound of Tuesday’s practice, Schmitz has at least one person that agrees with him.

“[Carter's] been a great player and go-to guy in this league for a long time in his career,” said Suns coach Alvin Gentry. “For the last seven years we’ve had Steve [Nash] to create every play in every situation down the stretch. So to have someone to give the ball to in an isolation situation is really important, not just for our team, but to take some pressure off Steve.”

Yes, it’s true Carter has struggled at times in his three games as a Sun, but that doesn’t worry the coach.

“Obviously it’s not going to be a great fit right away, but now he’s played some games and I like what he brings to the table,” Gentry said. “The more comfortable we get with each other, the better we’ll play.”

Vinsanity isn’t backing down from the challenge either.

“I’m all for it; I feel confident in that position because I’ve been there before,” Carter said. “I’m not afraid to take the shot when it’s there; I’m just a sore loser when I miss it. I’m not afraid to fail. When the coach and the team has confidence in you, you can’t be afraid to take the shot.”

Carter has averaged 18 points in Phoenix, but is just 23-for-54 from the field.

“I’ve watched a lot of film of [Jason Richardson] and how he got his shots [while playing in Phoenix] and what they tried to take away from him,” Carter said. “But it’s nothing like going out there and seeing everything.”

If Vince is at, or even near, the top of his game, I’d have to agree with Gentry and Schmitz.

The Suns can’t continue to settle for jumpers at the end of games. They just aren’t the same team that made 41 percent of its long-range shots last season.

Instead, Carter can drive to the basket and try to get to the foul line or kick it out if the defense collapses on him.

Rebounding from the Sacramento loss

The 94-89 loss to the NBA-worst Kings Sunday capped off a terribly disappointing week for Phoenix.

“Are we sick about what happened in Sacramento? Of course we are,” Gentry said. “We’ve got a good group of guys but we’re struggling and we know that. We’re trying to play our way out of it and they are working hard. As a coach, that’s all I can ask my guys to do.”

The Suns lost to the Clippers, 76ers and the aforementioned Kings in a span of  eight days.

“We just have to make sure our psyches are okay; we can sometimes lose our confidence,” Grant Hill said. “The main thing is to stay upbeat. We’ve improved on the defensive end and there are still other areas to get better in but we can’t lose our spirit. We still have close to 50 games left.”

At first it was a lack of defense that was holding Phoenix back, but over the 19-2 run to end the game in Sacramento, it was second-chance points for the Kings and the lack of scoring on offense that killed the Suns.

Rebounding has been a problem for Phoenix all season long, but maybe not ever as much as it was on Sunday.

Carter pointed out that the lack of rebounding might have been what led to the Suns scoring just two points in the final five minutes of the game.

“We have a lot of transition shooters and guys who can get up and down the court,” Carter said. “But you can’t do that when the other team is putting the ball in the basket every trip down. It makes it hard to run and it makes our half-court offense need to be perfect. … The second opportunities killed us.”

Still, coach Gentry is far more concerned with keeping the defensive intensity up rather than worrying about fixing his offense.

“I hope the last two games are an indication of what we can do defensively,” Gentry said. “If we can continue to do what we did the last two games, than I think our offense will pick itself up.”

  • George Z

    So if the Suns are still thinking of making a move with one of their wings, would this be the time to speak to the Mavericks about a possible trade to replace Butler? I think the Mavericks are in a position where they could knock out the Flakers with their team, losing Butler may help give the Lakers an edge and I cant see Cuban risking anything when his team is so close to winning a championship. I like all of the Suns players, but if a great offer comes along that benefits the Suns then I don’t see a reason why the Suns should not hesitate.

  • George Z

    *correction*
    “I don’t see a reason why the Suns should hesitate”.

  • JC

    As a Raptors fan, and as someone who’s followed Vince throughout his entire career: trust me, you do not want this guy anywhere near the ball in clutch situations. Just trust me on this one.

    And if you still doubt me, talk to any Raptors/Nets/Magic fan.

  • DMV

    @JC

    Get out of here with that lol. We support facts around here….not blatant lies.

  • DMV

    These are game winners NOT when the game is tied and there is no pressure. These are absolute daggers when you’re down 1-2 points and HAVE to score or the game is over. Ridiculous.

    But of course, people choose to ignore these things when talking about Vince Carter. Alvin Gentry knows exactly what he has with Vince. The Suns got him for a reason.

  • Chris

    Ban this faggot JC’s IP address. He is a flat-out LIAR. Vince is one of the greatest clutch shooters in NBA history. Check out “Carter in the clutch” on Youtube. It’s 10 minutes of nothing but clutch shots (game within 3 points with 24 seconds or less to go in 4th quarter or overtime).

    You can also google “most game winners” on 82games.com. From 2003-2009, Vince Carter had the second most game winners in the league after Lebron James, and shot above the league average in terms of FG% on game winners.

    Idiot.

  • Chris

    Carter in the clutch:

    Watch that video and tell me that you don’t want him anywhere near the ball in clutch situations. And no, we are not going to “take your word for it”. If you have actual FACTS to present to support your argument, do so. Otherwise you’re just an idiotic liar.

    And here are some hard numbers. Most game winners from 2003-04 to partway through 2008-09. Vince made 16 game winners in that time, only Lebron with 17 made more. And Vince shot 1.6% above the league average in terms of FG%:

    http://www.82games.com/gamewinningshots.htm

    In terms of actual buzzer-beating game-winners, Vince ranks 2nd after only Kobe Bryant, with 15:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/preview?gid=2010112807

    Now get out of here with your lying faggotry. If you have actual documented facts to present that prove he’s not good in the clutch, show them to us. Don’t tell us to “take your word for it”, because you’re just a lying idiot.

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