The Portland Trailblazers lost to the young New Orleans Pelicans 115-104 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans Tuesday night. But the story was that Carmelo Anthony stepped foot on a NBA basketball court, wearing the number 00 for the Blazers, to play a professional game of basketball for the first time in over a year. He was thrown right into the fire after going unsigned for over a year.
“It felt great to be back in the flow of the game, be back on the court, be back to where I think I belong at,” said Anthony after the loss. “Just being back out there with the guys again. I think most of all the routine, team bus, team lunch, being around the guys in the locker room, just the routine I’ve been used to for 17 years now … so getting back into that. As far as the game goes, it felt good to be back out there.”
Anthony finished with 10 points shooting just 4 of 14 from the field, which is an ugly 28 percent. He did not attempt a single free throw. Granted, Anthony had not had time to practice with his new team, and there wasn’t even an official shoot-around Tuesday morning as the Blazers were on the second end of a back to back. Despite his poor stat line, Blazers coach Terry Stotts was “very encouraged” by his performance.
“To be honest, I thought he looked good,” Stotts said. “I thought offensively he got looks, he got good looks at the basket. I thought he got fouled at least two or three times taking it strong to the basket. He then came away empty, so that kind of affected his line. But I thought all things considered it was pretty good.” The coach clearly had Melo’s back after a rough night, but what else can you really say?
It is going to take some time for Anthony to mesh in the new system with his new teammates, but if he is serious about his new role in the NBA, there is no reason he can’t do it. He is still one of the most talented scorers ever to play the game and should be able to add a dynamic to the Blazers that will help them get back into the hunt for a Western Conference Championship. “It’s not nothing I won’t be willing to do, but just let me know up front, and whatever it is, just let me know.” said Carmelo Anthony about his role in Portland. The Blazers let him know, now here he is, lets see if he lives up to his word.