One of the talking points stemming from the Raptors' Game 5 victory over the Nets is that the franchise holds a postseason series lead for the first time since going up 2-1 on the 76ers in the 2001 Eastern Conference semifinals.
What's often forgotten when discussing that fun fact, or just in general for that matter, are the circumstances surrounding that Game 3 victory over the Sixers 13 years ago. More specifically, what's often forgotten is how historically good Vince Carter was on that Friday night in Toronto.
Sure, folks remember that Carter dueled Allen Iverson tit for tat in that classic seven-game series, but do they remember VC's Game 3 performance as the legendary showing that it was? As you sit there during Spurs/Mavs in 2014 and witness Carter turn back the clock, do you do so aware that the superstar we once dubbed 'Half Man, Half Amazing' has one of the greatest postseason performances ever under his belt?
If it's been forgotten in the midst of Carter's years of postseason failures - including his buzzer-beating Game 7 miss that famously sent Toronto home later in that very series - let me be the one to remind you that on May 11, 2001, with the Raptors and 76ers even at a game apiece and Toronto hosting its first ever second round playoff game, Vince Carter did this:
Fifty points, seven assists, six rebounds, four blocks, one steal. 19-of-29 shooting. An NBA-record-tying nine made three-pointers. It's the stuff of legends, and Basketball Reference's Game Score measure actually ranks it among the seven best individual playoff performances of the last 50 years.
As the natural course of time and a player's own reputation - whether deserved or not - erodes some of our memories of that player's excellence, sometimes it takes a special circumstance to remind us of something we should have never forgotten.
Whether you're a Raptors fan or not, if you're reminiscing about the way things were way back when Toronto last held a series lead but don't remember this classic Vince Carter performance, take this time to reacquaint yourself with it. It was truly one for the ages, and one we should consider timeless from here on out.
As for some other should-be-memorable playoff performances that may have been wiped from fans' collective memory...
Sleepy Floyd - 1987 - Second Round
Eric Augustus "Sleepy" Floyd made just one All-Star appearance in his 13-year NBA career, but his performance in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals to help the Warriors avoid a sweep at the hands of the Lakers - and hand L.A. their first loss of the playoffs - was nothing short of remarkable. Floyd scored 51 points on 69 percent shooting and added 10 assists, four steals and three rebounds for Golden State.
The best part? Floyd had the greatest single game Game Score in recorded playoff history until Michael Jordan (1992) and Charles Barkley (1994) bested it. It remains No. 3 on Basketball Reference's list.
Brad Daugherty - 1992 - First Round
Daugherty was forced to retire early because of back problems, but before that and before he became an ESPN NASCAR analyst, the former Cavs big man made five All-Star games in eight NBA seasons and had an absolute classic postseason performance to his name, dropping 40 points, 16 rebounds, nine assists, two blocks and a steal on the Nets in a Game 1 win during their 1992 first round series.
Terry Porter - 1992 - Western Conference Final
In a performance that would set analytically driven fans' twitter timelines on fire today, Porter scored 41 points on only 14 field goal attempts to help the Trail Blazers take a 2-0 lead on the Jazz in the West Final. He also added seven assists, six rebounds and three steals.
Kevin Johnson - 1995 - Second Round
Before Kevin Johnson ran the city of Sacramento, he ran the point for the Phoenix Suns, and according to Basketball Reference's Game Score measure, his Game 4 performance in Phoenix's second round series with the eventual champion Rockets was better than any playoff performance Shaquille O'Neal ever had. Johnson posted 43 points on 18-of-24 (75%) shooting to go with nine assists, six rebounds and three steals.
Rajon Rondo - 2012 - Eastern Conference Final
Given that he's still an active player with years remaining in his career, Rondo's excellence hasn't been forgotten by any astute NBA observers. But how many of you non-Celtics-fans remember his performance in a Game 2 overtime loss to the Heat in the East Final just a couple of years ago? Rondo finished with 44 points on 16-of-24 (67%) shooting, 10 assists, eight rebounds and three steals.
Feature photo courtesy of AC Reuters/Action Images