Carmelo Anthony finally did it. He proved that he can be a very solid tertiary option. He proved that he could be a positive teammate. Carmelo Anthony proved that he still belongs in the NBA.
Anthony dropped 27 points, hitting 75 percent from three-point territory on Saturday. He also grabbed seven boards enroute to a 131-122 loss. The Lakers eliminated the Trail Blazers from the playoffs. It’s entirely possible that this is the last time we see Melo wearing a Trail Blazers jersey.
The Trail Blazers signed Anthony to a minimum deal back in November. That one-year deal helped revive his career, and helped the Trail Blazers as they made it to the playoffs. He averaged 15.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists, all improvements over the previous year. Granted, that stint only lasted 10 games.
Melo brings a lot to the table for Portland. He’s a solid third, or even fourth, option on the team. Anthony has thrived this year on three-pointers, shooting at a solid 38.5 percent clip. That’s good for second-highest in his career. He also is a capable rebounder; he’s third on the team.
Anthony also brings a sense of confidence to the team. His turnaround jumper is money, and he’s not afraid to challenge Anthony Davis’s defense and hit him with a step back. And don’t get me started on the one-on-one matchup against LeBron. Just like it was 2003, Melo rose up for a beautiful midrange shot over King James.
Game 5 might have been the most-Melo game Anthony has played in years. It showed that he’s still a very proficient scorer and a skilled rebounder. More importantly, he proved that he can still keep teams in a game. While the Trail Blazers lost, Anthony was instrumental in helping fill the void left after Damian Lillard went down with an injury. After the Lakers dismantled the team in Game 4, this game was a lot closer than it should have been.
Another major factor in bringing Melo back to Portland is his desire to stay in Rip City. After Game 5, Anthony said that he prays that he gets to stay in Portland. He says he’s comfortable. It also helps that Damian Lillard agrees.
If you aren’t used to seeing Melo play in white, red and black, you better get used to it. Anthony might have found a home in Portland.