At peace, Carmelo Anthony moved past Rockets -- then beat them

Jamie Hudson

HOUSTON – To say that Carmelo Anthony has made a difference on this Trail Blazers squad would be an understatement.

November 19th, at least for this season, will go down as the unforgettable day the Trail Blazers took a chance on the 17-year veteran.

Now, through 27 games with the Blazers, Melo is averaging 16.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.

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Wednesday night, Anthony got his first chance to play against the team that he last played for a year ago.

A team that took a chance on him, but didn't seem to really give him a shot after parting ways with Melo after just 10 days.

But, did the 35-year-old get up a little more or have any extra emotions playing against the Rockets?

Nope.

You know why?

Because of the time he had off to deal with and process all those added emotions.  

I kind of got past all of that -- the time that I was off, the time that I did have to kind of think about that situation. And, I had dealt with every emotion that you could think about -- trying to figure out why, questioning myself at the beginning -- working so hard to get past that and kind of be at peace with that. – Carmelo Anthony said postgame  

Even though Anthony's time in Houston was short-lived, he was still greeted with cheers from Rockets fans during pregame introductions. However, the ovation was not nearly as loud as many other arenas Melo has visited this season.  

He did, though, give Blazers fans more to cheer about with his efficient play on the offensive end and his effort on the defensive side of the ball.

In the win, the future Hall of Famer finished with a double-double, 18 points and 12 rebounds.

Houston media had asked Blazers head coach Terry Stotts pregame if Melo had surprised him at all. Stotts replied saying, "the fact that he was out [of the league] for so long and came in and was able to play 30 plus minutes of production -- NBA minutes was probably the most surprising thing."

But, by the looks of it and the sounds of it, the Rockets organization and the media seem really surprised to see what Melo has been able to do with the Blazers this season.

After Wednesday's win, Coach Stotts made sure to make it known that his veteran forward was out there doing what the team needed, not anything else.

"Melo's been great for us and I know there are different venues – I don't know how he particularly feels about Houston, the Rockets and all of that, but he's about the right things. He's about winning, he wants to win. I think for him being a part of a win like this is probably more important regardless of who it's against," Stotts said.

Coach Stotts was spot on.

After the win, Melo downplayed the possibility of there being anything extra to the game. "Just getting the win," he said.

Anthony added, "I thought everyone contributed to this win."

That statement by Melo is not in the least bit surprising.

Since Anthony signed with the Trail Blazers he has done nothing but prove he wants to help this team succeed, he wants to share his knowledge, and he wants to prove he can still contribute.

Melo is a bona fide superstar.

And, as that new saying goes: Real recognizes real.

Lillard recognizes his fellow superstar returning to play against Houston and how that might change Anthony's view of Wednesday's matchup.

Melo been around a long time, so I'm sure that there was some feelings like – this is the last team I've played for, it didn't end on a high note -- So, I'm sure he wanted to beat them, but before the game, during the game he wasn't overly emotional -- like ‘I want to kill them', he was like – 'let's win the game.' He had a great game. He did what he needed to do to help us win the game and that was that. – Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard said postgame 

As Lillard and Melo look for some carryover from Wednesday's win, they will also look to lead this team together.

More often than not it is either one of them or both of them having a teaching moment with a young Anfernee Simons or Gary Trent Jr. on the bench or during a stoppage of play.

The Blazers are on the outside looking in at the playoffs at the moment.

But, don't think for a second these two superstars aren't game planning together on how to change the narrative of this 2019-20 season. 

At peace, Carmelo Anthony moved past Rockets -- then beat them originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

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