Carmelo Anthony continues making an impact for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2021-22, both on and off the court.
Anthony came off the bench to score 18 points in the victory over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday, helping L.A. to come back from a 17-point deficit with a fine shooting form late in the game. The 37-year-old forward ended the night 5-of-8 from beyond the arc (62.5%), joining Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook in leading the rally that got Los Angeles back into the game.
His leadership showed also off the court.
Head coach Frank Vogel gave credit to Anthony for being the voice of reason after the heated altercation between LeBron James and Pistons center Isaiah Stewart — which lead to the ejection of both. Furthermore, the oldest Lakers player offered his younger teammates words of encouragement as they faced the grueling task of overcoming Detroit’s lead without the four-time NBA champion.
After the game, Anthony said his goal was to help L.A. stay poised and use the incident as an inspiration to fight back despite the adversity, via Spectrum SportsNet’s Mike Trudell:
“I mean, in the midst of that battle or whatever you want to call it, the midst of the storm and out of storm, it was just a matter of keeping everybody composed. We could have easily let the game slip away or continued to let the game slip away. But as a team, we need to come together at that moment because we, I mean, it’s unfortunate about what happened in that incident situation. But we needed something like that to kinda spark on fire. We haven’t had anything like that this year to test us from a physical standpoint. And I think tonight, although like I said it was unfortunate what happened, we needed that to spark something in us. And it did.”
Anthony added he told his teammates that the Lakers had the momentum going into the fourth quarter — despite Detroit leading by 15 points to start the final period:
“I mean, we just took it to another level, the focus that we had after the status of the game. You can see that, you know, how we was able to lock in mentally, physically was able to lock in and just chip away. This is one of the games, you couldn’t let them get, a team like Detroit, get confidence, get momentum. And coming into the fourth quarter, I felt like we had the momentum. I just wanted to tell the guys on the team that we had this momentum to take advantage of it. We continue doing what we doing, let’s keep chipping away at it and we will give ourselves a chance to win.”
Vogel has praised L.A.’s determination in the clash with Pistons and said the nature of the victory could mark the beginning of a turnaround for his team following a difficult start to the new campaign.
Davis hopes Lakers can ‘build off’ win over Pistons
Davis has also highlighted the importance of the Sunday victory, saying the Lakers can hopefully build off it and leave the nightmares of the current campaign’s first month behind them.
“We were able to get the win and we needed it,” he said. “Hopefully it’s gonna spark a little fire under our you-know-what to keep going. But it feels good to get back in the win column.”
Davis added: “We played our best defensive quarter this season in the fourth, holding them to 17 points. So we got to build off of this, especially on the defensive end.”
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