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Before the Memphis Grizzlies’ Tuesday night matchup with the Phoenix Suns, Grizz head coach David Fizdale was asked about whether he had any concerns related to renewing unpleasantries with a team against whom Memphis scuffled earlier this month:
No worries, Coach. Vince Carter brought the intensity. Like, a lot it.
In fact, upon further review, maybe too much:
With just under four minutes to go in the opening quarter of Tuesday’s contest, the 40-year-old Carter went to work against the 20-year-old Booker on the right block. As he made his move toward the paint, Booker gave Carter enough of a shot to merit a quick whistle and a foul. The two players continued, though, with Booker playing through the whistle and bodying the vet back up. Carter, in turn, swung his right arm up, hard, in the direction of Booker’s head.
He appeared to only make contact under Booker’s outstretched right arm, but that was enough to knock the off-balance shooting guard to the floor. And coming on the heels of Booker shoving Grizzlies big man Zach Randolph to the ground from behind in a game last month:
… and the beef between Booker and Troy Daniels that boiled over into a multi-player scuffle and plenty of post-game jawing just a couple of weeks back:
… that was enough to get everybody’s blood pumping.
Suns center Alex Len quickly stepped to Carter, swiping down to knock the ball out of his hands and getting in his face. Carter did not take kindly to being hemmed up by someone who was four months shy of his sixth birthday when Vince made his NBA debut, and he shoved his finger into Len’s face to emphasize what we’re sure was a point about respecting one’s elders. That led to Phoenix rookie Marquese Chriss getting involved, and a whole slew of other players, coaches and refs intervening, before eventually all parties were separated and cooler heads could prevail.
After reviewing the incident, the refs decided to slap Carter with two technicals — one for the after-the-whistle shot to Booker, another for the finger-jab into the grill of Len, who also got a T on the play — and eject him from the game. Carter finished scoreless on 0-for-1 shooting in two minutes of floor time.
On one hand, you can argue that two techs for that seems a bit excessive:
On the other, you’d like to think that Carter — a 19-year vet who plays a somewhat surprisingly large role on this Grizzlies team, averaging more than 24 minutes per game — would’ve known better than to lash out at a kid who gets under his team’s skin less than nine minutes into the proceedings:
Either way, if I were a betting man, I’d wager that this isn’t the last we’ve heard of the bad blood between the Grizz and the Suns, and especially their rising star shooting guard.
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