Two sides of Vince Carter have been on display recently.
The New Jersey Nets star, whose faces the Raptors tonight in East Rutherford, N.J., was sidelined for one game last week with a back injury, bringing back memories for VC fans in Toronto.
But he also showed some toughness when he drove hard at Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant and was fouled. The marquee players exchanged words and Bryant then pushed Carter. Each player was assessed double technicals.
"No big deal," Carter told The Record in New Jersey in the aftermath.
But VC's Nets teammates took notice.
"We needed something like that to make us come together and stop fighting each other and fight for each other," Nets guard Jeff McInnis told The Record. "We needed something to push us, and that was it."
The Nets went on to win that game 102-96 in overtime, ending a three-game winless skid on the West Coast. Since missing a game with a back injury Nov. 23 in Sacramento, Carter has been pretty consistent, topping the 20-point mark in three of four games. He is coming off a 27-point outing in a loss against the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday.
After a bunch of Raptors caught up with family and friends last night in Atlanta, tonight will be reunion time for Raptors forwards Eric Williams and Aaron Williams.
Those two were the active players to come over to Toronto in the Carter deal last season. Of course, to the dismay of Raptors fans, neither is in the team's regular rotation.
Eric Williams is a native of nearby Newark, N.J., and is doing some real estate work in the area.
The Raptors tonight complete their fifth of 19 sets of back-to-back games this season. The Raptors are 0-8 this season entering last night in back-to-back play.
And if you are thinking of picking the Raptors for an upset tonight, perhaps this stat will change your mind. The Raptors are 10-45 in second games of back-to-backs the past four seasons.