Sluggish at times, Carmelo Anthony posts 10 points in Trail Blazers debut – ESPN

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NEW ORLEANS — It didn’t take long for the Portland Trail Blazers to get Carmelo Anthony involved in the offense.

And though he ended up with just 10 points in Tuesday’s 115-104 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, it is abundantly clear that Portland’s objective is clear: Get the ball to Melo … early and often.

In Portland’s very first possession, Anthony, who received a warm welcome from the Smoothie King Center crowd, tried to post up Pelicans forward Kenrich Williams. But the pass was late and Williams stepped in front for a steal.

The next time down the court, the offense worked its way to Anthony again as he attempted a field goal from the top of the circle. It hit the back of the rim.

The third time was the charm, however, as Anthony made a 3 from the left side of the court, just above the break for his first NBA points in 376 days.

There wasn’t much after that, but it wasn’t for lack of effort. In just under 24 minutes, Anthony finished 4-of-14 from the floor, and was one of six Blazers to score in double figures. Anthony was 2-of-3 on his 3-pointers and added four rebounds and one block. He also finished with five turnovers and a game-worst minus-20. Only CJ McCollum had more shot attempts (22).

There were bits of rust, clearly, as Anthony picked up three fouls in the first half and notched his fourth early in the third quarter. He checked out for good with 6:21 remaining, after his fifth foul.

On defense, Anthony was so-so, as well. When he was the primary defender, the Pelicans were 4-of-8 from the field and 3-of-5 from 3-point range.

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