Wearing the brand new jersey number 00, Carmelo Anthony made his official Portland Trail Blazers debut on Tuesday night. Anthony, who hadn’t played in an NBA game since November 2018, was also a member of the starting lineup, playing in the power forward spot against the Pelicans.
While Melo didn’t necessarily go off in terms of scoring loads of buckets, his presence was certainly felt as he arrived to play in New Orleans.
Melo’s first-half stats, first Blazers bucket
With Damian Lillard sitting out due to a back injury, Melo started along with CJ McCollum, Anfernee Simons, Rodney Hood, and Hassan Whiteside. Meanwhile, Lillard provided support from the sidelines.
Hoodie Melo returns 🔥 pic.twitter.com/0v08bJ4xnn
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) November 20, 2019
Blazers head coach Terry Stotts had indicated prior to the contest that Carmelo would get in 20 minutes of action in Tuesday’s game. By halftime, Anthony had logged 12 minutes of game time.
Melo’s first official bucket was a three-pointer, which came after he set a screen for CJ McCollum, who then quickly found him for the wide-open shot.
Melo drops 7 PTS in his first half of 🏀 in 2019-20! #RipCity
— NBA (@NBA) November 20, 2019
He shot 3-of-7 from the field, including hitting his only three-point shot attempt. That gave him seven points by the half, along with three rebounds, a block, and three turnovers. The Blazers also held a 54-53 lead over the Pelicans.
Among Melo’s other first-half highlights were a step-back jumper and an up-and-under layup to show he still has the skills necessary to compete.
Melo’s debut comes with a Blazers loss
Even with the return of Carmelo Anthony, Portland was unable to overcome New Orleans’ second-half surge. They outscored the Blazers 35-25 in the third quarter. With just over a minute left in the fourth quarter, New Orleans still led by double digits.
The Pelicans would end up with a 115-104 win to spoil Carmelo’s Blazers debut. Jrue Holiday led the way with 22 points and 10 assists. Brandon Ingram had 21 points, seven rebounds, and five assists.
In 24 minutes of action, Anthony tallied 10 points on 4-of-14 shooting, including two three-pointers. In addition, he grabbed four boards and blocked a shot. However, he also had five turnovers and five personal fouls in his first game back in the league.
There’s still time to polish off the rust and throw down that highlight dunk the fans want to see.
Melo tried to throw it down on Jaxson Hayes 😅 pic.twitter.com/fmm1JnBp3x
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 20, 2019
Melo joined the team just in time for the final four games of their road trip. Next up on the schedule for Anthony and the Blazers will be a visit to Milwaukee on Thursday night (Nov. 21). TNT will provide televised coverage.
Portland will have road games at Cleveland (Nov. 23) and Chicago (Nov. 25) after that.
Carmelo Anthony’s official home debut for the Blazers should take place on Wednesday, November 27, against his former squad, the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Stay tuned as the return of Melo continues.