Carmelo Anthony played a critical role in the Portland Trail Blazers’ 140-135 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 1 of the NBA season restart. One day later, Portland’s publicity magnet is drawing praise from multiple sources, including Frank Urbina of HoopsHype, who included ‘Melo and the Blazers in his Top 10 takeaways from the opening 48 hours of the new season.
Urbina noted Anthony’s big buckets in the fourth quarter of regulation, a pair of three-pointers that kept the Blazers alive when Memphis threatened to walk away with the game. He implied that ‘Melo could be the elusive missing piece that turns Portland from good to “scary good”:
With a clutch Melo out there, along with Jusuf Nurkic (who was great in his return from injury, dropping an 18/9/5 stat line), the Blazers could be scary good as they close out the season.
Urbina also noted that the race for the 8th seed in the Western Conference is going to be exciting to watch:
The race for the West’s No. 8 seed is going to go down to the wire. Unlike in the East, the race for the No. 8 seed in the West is going to be thrilling to watch unfold. The Blazers’ win over Memphis put them within 2.5 games of the Grizzlies, with the Spurs 3.0 games back and the Pelicans 3.5 back. It wouldn’t be surprising to see any of those teams get hot and force a play-in situation for the West’s final playoff spot.
Urbina’s other notes include Deandre Ayton looking great, the Houston Rockets still struggling to put small ball together, and the mysterious case of Zion Williamson’s disappearing minutes.