Dallas Mavericks guard Vince Carter has never been viewed as a dirty player over the course of his 16-year NBA career, but he will have to pay the price for elbowing Oklahoma City Thunder rookie center Steven Adams in the head during Wednesday's game. The league has suspended him for one game, according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports.
The incident in question occurred late in the third quarter on Wednesday with the Thunder leading 74-63. After grabbing an offensive rebound, Adams seemingly inadvertently elbowed Carter while protecting the ball. A frustrated Carter responded with an elbow of his own, which resulted in a flagrant-2 foul call along with an ejection.
OKC went on to win the game 107-93, and it isn't as if Carter's absence for the remainder of the contest mattered much. Carter failed to record a point in 14 minutes, as he missed each of his four attempts from the field prior to getting tossed.
While Carter's elbow certainly seemed malicious at the time, he deserves credit for showing remorse afterward in an interview with Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com:
More than anything, I just want to apologize to the fans of both sides. You know there's no need for it. They're already trying to clean up the game of basketball, make it fun for fans to watch. It's just one of those things where you're caught up in the moment of a big game, whatever, whatever, and you react to a reaction that was done to you.
Carter clearly regretted the rash decision that he made during the heat of the moment:
It was just a reaction. It was just one of those things where you get caught in the moment playing in a big game, in a battle. It does happen, but sometimes when you do something like that, you just wish you can take it back.
Since Carter has played the game with such professionalism at a high level for so many years, there is little doubt that he'll humbly accept the suspension and move forward from it.
The Mavs are off to a solid start this season with a record of 3-2, but there is definitely reason to be concerned about Vinsanity even aside from the flagrant foul on Wednesday. The 36-year-old veteran is getting up there in years, and he is averaging just 9.2 points per game through five contests.
It has been several years since Carter last performed at an All-Star level, but he has never averaged less than 10 points per game over the course of a season. There are plenty of games left to be played this year, but Carter needs to get in the right state of mind in order to ensure that he can turn things around.
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