Vince Carters 48 points help Magic rally for 123-117 win over Hornets

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Vince Carter looked a lot like the player formerly known as Air Canada on Monday night.
There were high-flying layups, fall-away jumpers and step-back three-pointers.
Carter had a season-high 48 points, leading the Orlando Magic back from a 17-point second-half deficit to beat the New Orleans Hornets 123-117 on Monday night.
After one of the most sensational games in his storied career, all Carter could do was shake his head and smile.
"Been a while," he said.
Shooting just 28 per cent in January and being booed on his home floor suddenly seems like a distant memory since the calendar flipped. The kid from nearby Daytona Beach had his adopted hometown fans with their jaws dropped like never before in a Magic uniform.
"It's a new month. A new month brings new things. The past is the past, and it's going to be that," said Carter, who was nicknamed Air Canada for his gravity-defying exploits as a member of the Toronto Raptors.
"I've had rough months. That's just how it goes. And I know the expectations, and you work so hard to have an impressive resume, so it's expected each and every night. I understand that, and I don't have a problem with that.
"I don't mind being booed because I know what I can do. So I was just going to continue to play and shine through."
Elsewhere in the NBA it was: Los Angeles 101 San Antonio 89; and Dallas 127 Golden State 117.
At Orlando, Fla., Carter was 19-for-27 shooting and had 34 points in the second half with some of the most sizzling moves since he joined the Magic, who have won nine of their last 11 games. He added seven rebounds, two assists and a stockpile of highlights to his already illustrious career.
"I've never see anybody do that on my team," point guard Jameer Nelson said. "I called his number like six times in a row, and he made it six times in a row."
Peja Stojakovic had 29 points, and Darren Collison and David West added 27 points apiece for the Hornets, who have lost four of five since Chris Paul went down with an injured left knee.
But there was no stopping Carter.
It was the most points by a Magic player since Tracy McGrady - Carter's cousin - had 62 points against Washington on March 10, 2004.
"He was unbelievable," Stojakovic said. "He made some really tough shots over two guys or three guys."
There were plenty of other fireworks, but eventually, Carter stole the show.
Darius Songaila was called for a flagrant-one foul with 6:21 left in the fourth after he wrapped up Dwight Howard and tossed him to the ground. Howard made the free throws, then Carter had a jumper and a step-back three-pointer at the top of the key to tie the game at 106.
Carter followed that by slicing into the lane and finishing strong with his right hand for a layup, drawing a foul on James Posey for a three-point play. He would later hit another three-pointer - his sixth of the game - and stand near midcourt, soaking in the celebration, pumping his chest and popping his jersey.
"It was a great feeling," Carter said. "When you're rolling like that for your team, it's a great feeling. We have so many weapons, and just because of that I never imagined to be able to come out here and have a game like that."
He wasn't done.
Carter would add a fall-away floater over Posey from the baseline to extend Orlando's lead to 116-110, and he would later make a pair of free throws to seal the win.
It was by far Carter's best performance since he was traded from New Jersey in the off-season, finishing three shy of his career high. The eight-time all-star expected to be Orlando's missing piece to a title was back in peak form, and the Magic can only hope he stays there.
Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, who was infuriated by the constant questions over Carter's struggles in January, perhaps summed it up best in his opening comments.
"I know one regular question I'm not getting tonight, 'What's wrong with Vince?' Anybody got that question tonight," he said, laughing. "That was incredible. That was unbelievable."
The short-handed Hornets had no answer.
"That was good defence on him for the most part," West said. "We just couldn't keep him contained."
Lakers 101 Spurs 89
At Los Angeles, Pau Gasol had 21 points and 19 rebounds to lead five players in double figures, and the Lakers beat the Spurs without injured Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum.
Bryant missed his second consecutive game with a sore left ankle, while Bynum sat out with a bruised right hip.
In their absences, the Lakers used a collective effort to win in their final home game before this weekend's All-Star break. Ron Artest added 18 points, Lamar Odom 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Jordan Farmar and Derek Fisher had 13 each.
Mavericks 127 Warriors 117
At Oakland, Calif., Jason Terry scored a season-high 36 points, including the go-ahead three-pointer, and the Mavericks rallied from a 14-point deficit to beat the Warriors.
Josh Howard and Drew Gooden also had season bests with 25 and 24 points respectively for the Mavericks. Jason Kidd added 17 points and 12 assists.
Anthony Morrow scored a season-high 33 points and had 11 rebounds to lead the Warriors, who lost their season-worst ninth straight, including five at home. Monta Ellis scored 27 points before leaving the game with an apparent right knee injury in the final four minutes.

Organizations: Air Canada, Orlando Magic, Toronto Raptors Lakers

Geographic location: Daytona Beach, Orlando, Fla., Orlando Washington New Jersey Los Angeles Oakland

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