Carter, Rondo flash throwback outings in recent wins
NBA.com Global on Dec 29, 2017 07:45 AM
Sacramento Kings guard Vince Carter watches as his three-point shot goes into the basket at the close of the third quarter during an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017, in Sacramento, Calif. The Kings won 109-95. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
NBA.com staff report
In their primes, Vince Carter of the Sacramento Kings and Rajon Rondo of the New Orleans Pelicans were two of the NBA's best at scoring and passing, respectively. Last night, both showed they're more than capable of tapping into their old magic at times.
Carter, who entered yesterday's game with 24,612 career points, stunned the Cleveland Cavaliers with a 24-point outing in the Kings' 109-95 upset win. The last time Carter scored that many points in a game was on March 13 of last season, when he had 24 points for the Memphis Grizzlies in a 113-93 win against the Milwaukee Bucks. While a 24-point game would be nothing to write home about in the apex of Carter's career, his total far outpaced his season average of 2.9 points per game.
Additionally, his total was the most points in a game by a 40-year-old since Michael Jordan of the Washington Wizards scored 25 points on April 11, 2003 in a 91-87 win against the Miami Heat. Carter also outscored LeBron James (16 points) in a head-to-head matchup for the first time since Dec. 14, 2007. In that game -- a 105-97 win by Carter's New Jersey Nets -- Carter had 32 points to James' 29.
"He's always been a guy, big stage, big moment, that's been his time to shine," Cavs coach Tyronn Lue told reporters after the game last night. "Couldn't stop him tonight. He had it going."
As for Rondo, he was showing off the court vision that has always marked his game. He notched a career-high 25 assists in the Pelicans' 128-113 win against the Brooklyn Nets, marking the second time this season he had the most assists in a game. Rondo became the first player since Jason Kidd on Feb. 8, 1996 to record 25-plus assists in a game.
"The No. 1 thing is we got the win. And then me, personally, I love passing the ball," Rondo told reporters after the game. "I've been blessed to play with a lot of great players, and what I take pride in is making those guys' jobs easier."
Rondo's 25 assists set a Pelicans franchise record and he also became the oldest player in NBA history to record 25 assists in a game (31 years, 308 days old), per Elias Sports. Perhaps most amazing of all was that Rondo notched the 25 assists in 30 minutes, setting a new mark for the least amount of game time needed to reach that plateau.
Heading into last night's game, Rondo had logged 20 or more assists nine times in his career, with the most recent effort coming in 2010 as a member of the Boston Celtics. His former career-high of 24 assists was set in a 105-101 win over the New York Knicks on Oct. 29, 2010.