I Blame Morris Peterson

That’s right.  I blame Morris Peterson for Vince Carter’s explosion last night, and no, it has nothing to do with the fact Peterson couldn’t stay in front of him.(Well, okay, that hurt too)  I blame Peterson because he made Vince Carter care. 

Motivation has been the problem for Carter for half a dozen years now.  He can drive, post up, and hit jumpshots from all over the court.  He’s still bigger and stronger than most of the swingmen in the game.  But sorry, Basketball, he’s just not that into you.

There are times, however, when Carter decides he wants to remind people that he was once half-man, half-amazing.  When something tickles his competitive funny bone and sets him off.  Last night, it was Morris Peterson that woke up that competitive fire.

Peterson and Carter have a history.  They are friends.  They started their careers together in Toronto, and that relationship has continued to this day.  After the game, Carter reserved his longest hug for Morris Peterson, with both guys talking fast – clearly exchanging much more than the usual platitudes between opponents.

In fact, Carter feels he’s good enough friends with Peterson that he could even do this:

Yeah, that didn’t end so well, but still, you get the point.

So last night, in the first quarter, Morris Peterson was clearly up for a game against Carter.  He opened the game overplaying him and bumping him(and getting burned for a backdoor cut) and he kept up the physicality from there.  At the end of the quarter Peterson stuck a shot in Carters face, kneed him in the groin on a drive, and drew two fouls on him.   Each times Carter grimaced and went at him with drives on the other end, though he still wasn’t clearly locked in.  In the third, Peterson opened like he did in the first, skying for a rebound over Carter and knocking him down, and then played physical defense on him, grabbing and holding a few times.  Finally, a couple posessions after hitting a three, Vince got tangled up with Peterson and then wrenched his arm away, glaring at him.

That was pretty much the point where things went south.  When Vince starts wanting to get after a player rather than whining at the refs, you’re in trouble.  33 points later(He had 15 up to that point) the Hornets walked away losers, and Vince walked away preening.

So yes, It’s all Morris Peterson’s fault.

(Right?  I mean it’s easier to blame Peterson than recognize the Hornets have no competent wing defenders or interior help defense.)

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