Monday, September 25|
Dunk described as one of the best ever
SYDNEY, Australia -- Vince Carter went over Frederic Weis
like he was a 7-foot-2 prop in a dunk contest.
Looking like a contender for the gold medal in the high jump,
Carter unleashed one of the most awesome dunks in Olympic history
Monday as he jumped clear over Weis and sparked the United States
to a 106-94 victory over France.
"For me, that was probably the greatest play in basketball I've
ever seen," teammate Jason Kidd said. "Michael Jordan hasn't done
that. Nobody has done that. He's the next coming of Vince Carter."
The Americans finished the preliminary round undefeated in five
games and raised their overall Olympic record to 106-2.
And in those 108 games, it's safe to say there has never been a
dunk quite like the one Carter made. Not by Spencer Haywood, not by
Clyde Drexler, not by anybody. It might have been even better than
anything Carter did in the NBA slam dunk contest last February.
"I don't rank mine. I just do them," Carter said. "I didn't
think I was going to make it, actually. I took off from a long way
The U.S. team will play Russia in the quarterfinals, and a
victory there would set up a game against Yugoslavia or Lithuania
in the semifinals.
The spectacular play came four minutes into the second half.
With France trying to move the ball upcourt and nine of the 10
players on the court running the same way, Carter was headed the
other way as he intercepted a pass some 30 feet from the basket and
bore down on Weis with a full head of steam.
He took off from a step or two inside the foul line, spread his
legs in mid-air and went right over Weis, barely scraping the top
of the Frenchman's buzzcut.
"I knew he could jump, but I didn't know he could jump over
me," Weis said. "Everybody will know my face now, or my number at
least. It's going to be on a poster for sure."
The crowd went wild, the American players leaped off the bench
and Carter's personal dunk catalog had a new entry.
"I don't do them for my enjoyment. I just do them because
that's what happens," said Carter, who recalled that he once
dunked over 7-foot Dikembe Mutombo, too.
"The only time I've seen a play like that is when I jumped over
my 4-year-old son on one of those Nerf ball sets," coach Rudy
Carter scored the Americans' next two points on an alley-oop
pass off the backboard by Gary Payton, and it drew a mere buzz by
comparison. That's how incredible the previous dunk was.
"That was a 10, maybe a 12," Tim Hardaway said. "I've never
seen anybody jump over a 7-footer. It got us pumped up, and I think
they were rattled for three, four minutes after that."
Highlights aside, the Americans had plenty of trouble early and
let France creep back into the game late.
A dunk by Crawford Palmer with just more than four minutes left made
it a 10-point game, 94-84, but Antonio McDyess responded with a
dunk of his own off a length-of-the-court pass.
Kevin Garnett clanged a dunk attempt off the back of the rim and
into the stands with 3:42 left, giving France a chance to pull even
closer. But Antoine Rigaudeau missed a 12-footer and Garnett had a
reverse dunk, a steal and another dunk in the space of the next 10
That made the score 100-86, and the threat of another close call
like the one the Americans had four nights earlier against
Lithuania was gone.
Aside from the Carter and Garnett highlights, this was a game
the Americans would like to forget. France finished with the
highest point total of any American opponent in the Olympics since
1976 and the second-closest margin of defeat since NBA players
started playing in 1992.
McDyess finished with 20 points, Garnett 19 and Carter 13.
Laurent Sciarra led France with 21.
For most of the first half, the Americans were softer in the
middle than fully ripe brie as they allowed France to make layup
after layup against a lineup with no true center.
But after falling behind by double digits, 18-8 and 20-10, the
Americans took the lead for good on a 3-pointer by Hardaway that
made the score 28-25 with 9:05 left.
Three more 3-pointers came in the next two minutes as the U.S.
team was building an 11-point halftime lead, and the Americans
eventually pulled ahead 81-57 before France tried to make a game of
it and almost succeeded.
"In 10 years, you'll look in the record book and see that we
continued the streak -- not that we won by nine and 12," Carter said.
"A win is a win."
|French 7-foot-2 center Frederic Weis can't stand in Vince Carter's way.|
U.S.-France box score
Nash carries Canada to key victory over Yugoslavia
Hot-shooting U.S. blitzes New Zealand in hoops
Lithuania bounces back by beating China
'Michael Jordan of Italy' comes up big
U.S. hoops team gets a scare from Lithuania
Canada's 2-0 start brings on the medal talk
Second-half run pushes U.S. men past Italy
U.S. men hurdles Chinese 'Great Wall' with ease