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Carmelo Anthony on Damian Lillard: ‘He’s the top guy I’ve played with’

Allen Iverson. James Harden. Russell Westbrook. Chris Paul. Paul George.

Carmelo Anthony has played with some other Hall of Fame-level talent during his career (and we’re not even talking Olympic ‘Melo, that’s another long list). After Portland’s run through the seeding games and into the playoffs, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports asked ‘Melo where Damian Lillard ranks on that list.

“Dame’s at the top for me,” Anthony told Yahoo Sports. “I’ve never played with someone who lifted his team on the court with his play and as a leader. He genuinely cares for his teammates. What he’s been able to do is amazing. He’s the top guy I’ve played with.”

High praise.

Lillard lives up to it, however, and ‘Melo touches on the biggest key — it’s not just the monster nights on the court, it’s how he treats people off it. Lillard has a reputation as one of the best leaders in the league because of the respect he shows guys off it. Have you ever heard Lillard throw a teammate or coach under the bus? He’s stayed in Portland, respected the organization, and been a stand-up guy all the way around. That’s hard to find.

It’s really hard to find in a guy who can drop three 60+ point games in a season.

Game recognizes game, and Anthony knows he’s got it good right now.

Portland tips off its first-round series against the Lakers on Tuesday, dreaming of upsets.