Vince Carter Passes Larry Bird on All-Time Scoring List with Big Night vs. Kings

Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistFebruary 14, 2013

DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 11:  DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY Vince Carter #25 of the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center on February 11, 2013 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Vince Carter dropped in 26 points in the Dallas Mavericks' 123-100 win over the Sacramento Kings in a game that seemed like just another game, but with his scoring outburst he ended up passing Larry Bird on the all-time scoring list.

In what was perhaps his best game of the season, Carter's 26 points came on just 15 shots, as he sank nine, six of which were three-pointers.

Carter's scoring outburst was fueled by an amazing third quarter in which he scored 17 points, making five of his six three-pointers for the game.

The Mavericks had the ball zipping around the perimeter all game long, and when Carter got into his stride, it was like he couldn't miss.

2013 has been a solid bounce-back year for Carter. Last year with the Mavericks it seemed as if he had one foot out of the league, scoring just 10 points per game on 41 percent shooting with little defense to speak of.

However, he's turned things around and really become a solid player off the bench for Dallas, shooting 42.4 percent from the field while scoring just under 13 points per game. On top of that, he's shooting 39.4 percent from the three-point line.

I suspect that the Mavs would be disturbingly close to having the worst record in the West this season were it not for Vince Carter.

— Rob Mahoney (@RobMahoney) February 7, 2013

Carter is a legitimate threat from deep, and because of that he's effectively lengthened his career, allowing him to work his way up the all-time scoring list.

He started the game at 21,770 points and passed Bird 22 points later during his third-quarter scoring outburst, finishing the game with 21,796 points.

While it's easy to overlook this achievement as nothing but Carter playing for a long time, but it is a testament to the longevity of his career. He's been able to play well enough to get playing time for the better part of 16 seasons.

Carter's career scoring average is an impressive 21 points per game, good enough for 37th all-time, just behind David Robinson.

Bird's career, shortened by chronic back injuries, cut him off at 21,791 points after just 13 seasons, averaging 24.29 points per game.

Not only did he pass Bird, but he also notched another milestone for the season, proving his greatness from long distance.

Vince Carter just became the 11th player in NBA history with at least 1,600 3-pointers.

— Earl K. Sneed (@EKS_MavsNBA) February 14, 2013

Staying the course for the rest of the season, with Carter averaging 12.7 points per game, he's on pace to pass Gary Payton by the end of the season, falling just short of Clyde Drexler's 22,195 career mark.

Carter may not resonate as a guy anywhere near the level of Drexler or Bird, so it's easy to forget that he could perennially score between 1,500 and 2,000 points for more than a decade.