Carter makes 6 3-pointers, leads Magic past Pacers
In his days as a main option in Toronto and New Jersey, Carter often drew double-teams and had a hand in his face on most of his shots. Last season, his first with Orlando, he was simply one of many stars on a team featuring Dwight Howard(notes), Rashard Lewis(notes) and Jameer Nelson(notes).
Carter showed how well he’s adjusted to his surroundings on Friday. He scored 25 points and made 6-of-8 3-pointers in 19 minutes, and the Magic beat the Indiana Pacers 93-86 in preseason action.
“It’s always a great feeling that you can contribute to the team like that,” the 13th-year guard said. “The one beautiful thing about the way our team, and the way our team is built is we have so many weapons. One of my focuses for this year is knocking down open shots. It’s just all about repetition and shooting, and that’s what I’ve done.”
Howard was encouraged by Carter’s performance.
“He was the only one making shots,” Howard said. “He did an excellent job. He shot the ball with confidence, and we kept looking for him and we’re happy. That’s what we want from Vince.”
Indiana forward Tyler Hansbrough(notes), who missed most of last season with an inner ear infection and hadn’t played since Jan. 16, entered the game with 3:23 left in the first quarter. He scored nine points in 19 minutes.
“He played with energy, which you can always expect from Tyler,” Pacers coach Jim O’Brien said. “As he gets more and more time, he’ll get more comfortable out there.”
The first half was promising for the Pacers. Collison scored 13 points on 5-for-10 shooting and Indiana’s other two building blocks, Danny Granger(notes) and Roy Hibbert(notes), each scored 10 points before the break.
Things unraveled soon thereafter for the Pacers. Carter hit three 3-pointers to turn Orlando’s 54-51 lead into a 63-53 advantage just over five minutes into the third quarter. Orlando outscored the Pacers 33-13 in the period to take a 78-60 lead. The Magic held the Pacers to 4-for-20 shooting in the quarter.
“I just thought that the first half, both of our exhibition games, I’ve been a little disappointed that we didn’t come into the game in the first quarter with a defensive mentality,” Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said. “Our message at halftime was that we had to play better defense. I thought our defense in the third quarter was much more intense, much, much better.”
Orlando made 11-of-33 3-pointers in what was an ugly game at times. Orlando shot 36 percent from the field while Indiana shot 35 percent.
A.J. Price(notes) finished with 15 points, and Granger and Hibbert both scored 12 for the Pacers. Rookie Lance Stephenson(notes) scored six points in 16 minutes, and first-round pick Paul George(notes) finished with three on 1-for-8 shooting.
Collison showed at times what Pacers fans hope to see.
“I’m starting to feel more and more comfortable with each practice and with my new team,” he said. “Right now, we’re just learning each other as a team, and I think we’ll be ready for the season.”
Notes: Indiana G T.J. Ford(notes) sat out with a strained right hamstring. … Howard committed three fouls in the first 5:32 … Orlando’s Chris Duhon(notes) was issued a technical foul after disagreeing with a foul call with 7 minutes left in the second quarter. Indiana’s Josh McRoberts(notes) got the same treatment 14 seconds later. … Jeff Foster(notes) started the second half at power forward instead of McRoberts, who left with a sore neck and did not return.