Carmelo Anthony went off in the 121-118 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies, stepping up next to Anthony Davis to help the Los Angeles Lakers chalk up its first victory of the season.
The 37-year-old forward shot an astonishing 10-for-15 from the field (66.7%) including 6-for-8 from downtown (75%). His team-high 28 points allowed Carmelo to leapfrog Moses Malone into ninth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
The 10-time All-Star is living up to the hype that surrounded his arrival at Staples Center. His statement performance suggests Carmelo is indeed throwing his hat into the ring in the race for the 2021-22 Sixth Man of the Year Award.
The Lakers appear to feel the impact Carmelo makes off the bench. “Melo played his [expletive] off,” said Davis, who chipped in 22 points on Sunday. “He comes in and gives up a spark.”
Davis added he has always looked up to the veteran forward. The 28-year-old All-Star then paid his honors to Carmelo’s NBA career, emphasizing its renaissance in recent years.
“Obviously to do it with a franchise like the Lakers is probably huge for him,” Davis said about Carmelo passing Malone on the all-time scoring list.
“But to come in and do what he’s doing in the 19th year when a couple years ago nobody wanted him, he was counted out, he was doubted and he stayed the course. He stayed a professional and got a shot in Portland and made a name for himself again and then he’s here now doing the same thing, picking up where he left off.”
Davis said he feels privileged to be able to share the floor with an NBA great like Carmelo — as well as the many other basketball legends that feature on the Lakers’ roster this season.
“I’m just honored to have [Carmelo] on our team, honored to play beside him, and Bron and Russ, and [Rajon Rondo] and Dwight, all these Hall-of-Famers,” he said.
“I’m able to learn so much from them. Besides Bron and Russ and Dwight, [Carmelo] is in my ear the most, he’s always telling me little pointers and little things to help me. So he’s been great for us so far and I know he’s gonna be great for us all year.”
James was happy to congratulate Carmelo as his teammate
Carmelo’s signing by the Lakers made for one of the 2021-22 season’s storylines, particularly thanks to his long-term friendship with James. The two never hid their ambitions to play for the same team at some point in their careers.
That became reality this year — and James said it made celebrating Carmelo’s recent accomplishment all the more memorable.
“Usually when some of my friends have these kinds of achievements, I text them, call them or FaceTime and put something on social media,” James explained.
“In this case, I got to do it in person because he’s my teammate now. That made it special for me.”
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