Carmelo Anthony is playing one of his best NBA seasons in recent years, emerging as a lethal sharpshooter off the bench for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2021-22.
Anthony makes nearly 40% of his 3-point attempts this year, scoring 13.4 points. The 37-year-old forward’s also reminded rivals he is the most dangerous in key moments of the game.
In addition to a number of other big shots this season, the former All-Star’s four-point play practically sealed the Lakers’ 108-103 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves last week. With just 3:07 left on the clock, the veteran forward tricked Jarred Vanderbilt into fouling him on a 24-foot jumper.
After converting the extra free throw, L.A. jumped five points ahead — enough to take the win.
“I guess that’s the beauty of having guys who’s willing to take tough shots and live with the result,” Anthony said.
“A lot of times a tough shot will come with three seconds on the shot clock, four seconds on the shot clock. You have to be willing to take those shots and just embrace it. You miss it, you miss it, get back on D. You get a three, you get a two or an and-one or something like that.
“It’s just a matter of being willing to step up at that moment.”
Anthony has been willing to step up when the Lakers need him to. Over a third of his scoring tally (5.7 points per game) has come when the Lakers and their opponents were just five points apart, shooting 46.6% from behind the 3-point line.
Of all the phases of the game, the fourth quarter is also when the forward’s outside shooting has been especially effective — as he converts over 44% of his attempts from downtown in the final period.
LeBron James enjoys having Anthony as teammate
LeBron James and Anthony had wanted to play on the same team for years with their wish finally coming true in 2021-22. And James doesn’t hide his joy over having his good friend as a teammate, offering the fellow 2003 draftee some particularly kind words earlier this week.
“He just has a sense of just knowing who he is,” James said of Anthony. “He is not trying to be anything that others think he should be or how he viewed himself in the past. He’s a true definition of an ‘in the moment’ person and he just has a sense of calm and just like ‘this is who I am and this is how it’s gonna go’ aura about him.
“And it’s always just a breath of fresh air to be around every day. Never gets too high, never gets too low or he’s never gonna show you that even if he does. He just knows what he means to this ballclub, he knows what he means to this game at this point in his career and he’s accepted who he is and he’s still great at it.
And I’m happy to say that I finally get an opportunity to team up with him for a full season instead of only the Olympics.”
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