The Los Angeles Lakers have looked refocused after a home loss to the Dallas Mavericks that snapped a 10-game winning streak as they swept their three-game road trip after beating the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Blazers were simply overmatched given their short-handed frontcourt as they had no answers for Anthony Davis and LeBron James as the duo combined for 70 points. Anytime Portland looked like they might have captured some momentum, Los Angeles answered and left Moda Center with a 23-point victory.
Although the Blazers have underwhelmed to start the 2019-20 NBA season, they made waves when they decided to sign Carmelo Anthony to a one-year deal. Anthony had been toiling away in free agency but has looked rejuvenated playing next to Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, showing that he is still more than capable of scoring the basketball.
James recently expressed how happy he was to see Anthony back in the league, according to Bill Oram and Jason Quick of The Athletic:
Proud of him,” James told The Athletic on Thursday night in Salt Lake City. “I don’t know if he needed to hear it or not, but I’m fucking proud of him. Like, really like a blood brother.
James added how he resonated with Anthony’s resiliency to get back to playing:
It’s like, when people throwing stones on you and trying to bury you alive and you able to rise above that shit?” James said. “That’s amazing. Shit kind of hit home. It’s a beautiful thing. Beautiful thing. Only the strong survive.
Anthony was rumored to join James in Los Angeles during the 2018-19 season once the former was traded from the Houston Rockets to the Chicago Bulls and then subsequently released, but it never materialized once it was clear the Lakers would miss the 2019 NBA playoffs. However, it may have been for the best as he has clearly settled in in Portland and looks as spry as ever.
James and Anthony have a long history together as the two were the most touted prospects before being selected in the 2003 NBA Draft. Their friendship has also been well-documented as they are often seen spending their offseasons together, a clear sign of the bond they share off the court.
The NBA is a much more enjoyable league when their biggest names take the floor and having Anthony back adds another level of excitement to an already enjoyable season. Hopefully for James and the Lakers, it results in the team’s 17th NBA championship.