Since taking over as coach of the Suns, Alvin Gentry has made clear that he is going to stick with any player who happens to have a hot hand in a game, whether it's one of the team's stars or a reserve.
For the past two games, that player hasn't been Vince Carter in the fourth quarter. Carter has accumulated a career low for minutes played in consecutive games - a total of 35.
He watched from the bench as the good Suns buckled down in the fourth quarter to win in Utah against the Jazz, who visit US Airways Center tonight. And he sat in the final period Sunday as the bad Suns crumpled in the fourth quarter at home in a costly loss to the Kings.
Like the two faces of the Suns, Carter has been great at times and, to use his word, "average" at others.
Gentry said he's not changing his policy, "But I'd like for (Carter) to be one of the hot hands."
The Suns and Gentry not only want Carter to be their go-to guy, they need him to be if they hope to climb over at least Memphis and Portland in the Western Conference standings and get into a playoff spot.
"I would like to see him remain aggressive," Gentry said of Carter. "Sometimes he defers, and we don't need him to defer. He's got to be our guy, and he can only be our guy if he's in there. I've got to make sure he's out there in the game."
On Monday, Carter spent extra time after practice hoisting up shots to make sure he is.
"That's why I'm still out here," he said. "Just getting my game back together, that's all. I take it personally that I'm not playing to the level I'm capable of, not making shots.
"I think I put a little too much pressure on myself sometimes. It's been a battle I've been dealing with probably for 13 years. It's a mental game that I play with myself sometimes. I rededicated myself (Sunday) to come in here and get my extra work in and get back to who I am."
Vince Carter looks to do more
Arizona Republic | Feb 15