CHARLOTTE (NBA.com exclusive) -- The Charlotte Bobcats and Vince Carter.
That was all it took for the Orlando Magic to rebound from its disappointing 28-point loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder Sunday. With just nine players seeing action, Orlando benefited from Carter's return and a balanced attack to down the Charlotte Bobcats 93-81 Tuesday.
Carter, who missed four of the previous five contests due to a sprained ankle, came off the bench to lead the team with 15 points while adding four rebounds, two assists and a steal.
"I was totally surprised," Stan Van Gundy said. "He made the decision, not me. He had a good run (extending) the lead in the fourth quarter."
Orlando coaches and players were under the impression that the All-Star would once again be out after Carter didn't participate in the team's shootaround Tuesday morning. Van Gundy even received a text message from the Orlando trainer indicating Carter was officially out. That all changed though after Carter received treatment late in the afternoon.
"I wasn't even sure," Carter said. "I just wanted to give it a shot. I didn't feel so good this morning and went through my treatment. A few hours later I came back to the arena and said what the heck."
Van Gundy wanted to insert him in the starting lineup immediately, but deferred to Carter's wishes and let him come off the bench.
"I wasn't in shootaround and didn't really get the game plan and I just felt better to do so," Carter said. "I didn't want to disrupt what was going on out there."
Carter sat the entire first quarter but was out on the floor for the beginning of the second and made his mark early. He scored nine of his 15 points in the second period and knocked down three of his 3-point attempts as well.
Van Gundy was extremely critical of his team's play in Oklahoma two nights earlier, but was much happier with his team's performance in this game.
"I thought we started the game with (lots of intensity) and finished with it as well," Van Gundy said. "It was a step in the right direction."
A lot of that intensity and good start came from Brandon Bass who was making his second start for the Magic. Bass accounted for 12 points in the opening period and was a perfect 6-for-6 from the floor.
"I just wanted to go out there with more intensity on the defensive end and let it translate on the other end," Bass said. "I just wanted to go after it tonight."
The Bobcats, who are last in the NBA in scoring, continued to struggle on offense. Charlotte went 2-for-17 from behind the arc and committed 17 turnovers.
Gerald Wallace summed up much of the night offensively for Charlotte. The team's high-flying forward missed three dunks including an alley-oop and fast break opportunity that could have brought some much needed energy for the Bobcats.
"We played the last four minutes of the first half with a lot of energy," said Charlotte coach Larry Brown. "We had to fight uphill and they're hard to guard, especially when Vince is in there.
"We have to establish a post presence. That's the way to get to the free throw line. We have to be able to drive the ball. We have to work on it."