Vince Carter has been criticized for not caring enough about losing, but he was not happy last night. He showed it to the media and to Devin Harris.
If you’re the Nets or a Nets’ fan, that’s may be one good thing coming out of last night’s 108-88 debacle against the Wizards - Carter’s demeanor after the game.
Late in the game, while Carter and Harris were watching the end of the blowout, he had some serious words for his backcourt mate. The short version is don’t let what happened out West go to waste. Now here’s the long version.
“I still feel very confident about this team,” Carter said. “I think we accomplished a lot on that trip. I think we accomplished something that people didn’t even think we’d do. I don’t think people thought we’d win a game.
“But we feel good about our team ourselves and it wasn’t a great night, but after the game I said to Devin, even during the game when we took a timeout in the last four minutes or so, I said let’s continue to get better. The next team has to pay for it - plain and simple.
“It’s not a secret,” Carter added. “For us to play that well and build and come together and accomplish what we accomplished this past week, it’s up to Devin and myself to really set the bar and set the tone for the next game now. That’s what I feel is needed, so I refuse to let us take a step back.”
The words will be hollow if the Nets don’t come to play Friday, but you have to like them and the intent. Carter was unhappy and if you’re a Nets’ fan it’s good to see.
He’s trying to remain upbeat and supportive, yet show that he’s not happy with how everyone, including him, played.
His post-game press conference opened with a question about whether the Nets took a step backward. Carter said no, but….
“I think it’s unacceptable,” he said of the performance. “A step back? I think if we come back and give three games away then maybe it’s a step back. It’s just tough, man. We got the shots we wanted, especially in the first half. In the second half shots weren’t falling. I think our aggression more so took a step back in the second half.
“It was a tough night. We built something so we’re going to continue to do so. It was just one of those nights. I refuse to believe that we took a step back.”
Now it’s up to Carter and Harris and the rest of the Nets to make sure it was just one bad night because we’ve all seen it before. A bad night Friday could lead to a bad night Saturday in Philadelphia and then the high from the trip is replaced with a major low.
Of course, you can point to the Nets being tired from being out West for a week, landing at about 4:30 a.m. Monday morning and their body clocks being off. It’s a legitimate factor, but it sounds like an excuse.
So the best thing now is to move on and see what happens on Friday against the Timberwolves.
“We’ve got to look forward,” Harris said. “Obviously we lost an opportunity, but we can get another one back on Friday. Just look forward to that, get a good practice in and go from there.”
The Nets were waiting to see how teams played them to contain Harris. They found out as the Wizards went mostly to a zone in the third quarter. The Nets said they got open shots and that they just didn’t fall.
“We got some great looks,” Harris said. “It was just one of those nights where shots weren’t falling. They tried to take away our man-to-man stuff, gave us some wide-open looks, and our guys just weren’t able to knock them down.
“I still got into the lane, just instead of me finishing at the basket they forced me to kick out for open jump-shots. That’s what we want, eventually, but guys just have got to knock down shots.”
The Nets have to be prepared because they're going to see many different defenses no, but there's no excuse for not playing defense themselves.