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Carmelo Anthony ends winless record at Denver since Knicks trade originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest
After refusing to sign an extension with Denver and making his desire to play in New York well known, Nuggets fans had no love lost for their former franchise player.
However, ever since that trade, Anthony has gone winless in road games at Denver for a record of 0-10.
To open the 2021 NBA Playoffs, Melo and the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Denver Nuggets 123-109 at Ball Arena for Anthony's first win at Denver since being traded.
In the ten prior contests, Melo had averaged 19.8 points on 45.9% shooting at Denver since the trade.
On Saturday, Anthony scored 18 points on 50% shooting off the bench, including making four of his first five shots for 12 first-quarter points.
During the Blazers' lone trip to Denver this season, Anthony balled out with 24 points (16 in the second quarter) on 9-17 from the field to go with four rebounds, an assist and a block.
"We rode Melo in the second quarter," Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said after the game. "I thought he was outstanding in the second quarter."
But, it was not enough to overcome 41 points from soon-to-be MVP Nikola Jokić in the 111-106 defeat. This was the game where the Nuggets set an NBA record only having one turnover.
Saturday, the Blazers reversed course holding Jokić to a season-low single assist.
In his first season with Portland, Melo said he enjoyed playing at what is now called Ball Arena despite his then-winless record.
“It’s always fun, Melo said after scoring 20 points in a 114-99 loss. "It’s always fun coming back. I wish we could’ve won, but it’s always fun outside of the actual game. It’s always fun coming back, being in the city and just being around and playing."
In fact, prior to that game, the Denver faithful welcomed Melo back with cheers, a far cry from his previous receptions.
However, when he checked into the game Saturday, he was met with boo's, just like old times.
While he may not refer to this, you can bet Melo remembers his first game back at the then Pepsi Center where he shot 3-12 from the floor in a 117-94 blowout defeat. The Nuggets crowd chanted "Where is Melo?" during the fourth quarter which quickly evolved into "Who needs Melo?"
"I just didn't have it. I tried," said Anthony after scoring just nine points while playing through an injury that evening.
Despite the ugly ending to his Denver tenure, Anthony still wishes to see his jersey up in the rafters someday.
"This is where it should be retired to be honest with you, just my opinion," he said in December 2019. "I think that the history is here, it’s where it all started."
Melo will get his chance to earn his second victory as the road team in Denver during Game 2 of the NBA Playoffs on Monday, May 24th at 7:00 p.m. PT on NBC Sports NW, the official home of the Portland Trail Blazers.