NEW ORLEANS – It was a night with national media in the building to catch Carmelo Anthony in New Orleans as he made his debut for the Trail Blazers against the Pelicans on Tuesday night.
Pelicans fans gave a nice applause to Melo as he was introduced. NBA fans all around the league were happy to see the future Hall of Famer back on the court.
Anthony started alongside backup point guard Anfernee Simons in place of the injured Damian Lillard (back spasms).
It didn’t take long for Melo to get on the scoreboard.
At the 10:50 mark in the first quarter, he drained his first three-point attempt assisted by CJ McCollum.
The Blazers hung around with the Pelicans even though they were working through adding a player who has yet to practice with them.
With Melo being inserted into the starting lineup, rookie Nassir Little came off the bench, but Little played down the stretch due to Anthony’s minutes restriction.
FINAL BOX SCORE: Pelicans 115, Trail Blazers 104
Here are three quick takeaways from Tuesday's loss:
1. Initial Melo observations
-- Is still looking to dominate one-on-one
-- Will take a few games to get back in game shape
-- Puts a little extra zing on his passes and sometimes the Blazers weren’t ready for it
-- Is going to need to get used to having NBA officials calling fouls on him again
-- Is still shaking off the rust (careless turnovers, fouls)
--A practice with the team will be helpful (several miscues on both ends)
Carmelo finished with 10 points on 4-of-14 shooting to go along with his four rebounds, one block and five personal fouls.
2. McCollum taking it upon himself
CJ McCollum was very active on the defensive end against the Pelicans. He was getting deflections, getting in passing lanes, and sacrificing his body to take potential charges. With no Lillard, McCollum took it upon himself to shoulder a lot of the scoring load. McCollum was dialed in from three early on. He struggled to hit from deep in the final quarter though.
3. Future is bright in New Orleans
The Pelicans have a fun brand of basketball despite dealing with a number of injuries.
On Tuesday night New Orleans was without Lonzo Ball (right adductor), Jahlil Okafor (left ankle), Derrick Favors (left lower back), Josh Hart (left ankle) and Zion Williamson (right knee).
But between Brandon Ingram, J.J. Redick, and Jrue Holiday, the Pelicans have some athletic wings. Rookie Jaxon Hayes showed he has a lot potential at center with his length and mobility.
Up Next: The Trail Blazers visit the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night. Tip-off is slated for 5:00 p.m. PT on NBC Sports Northwest.
Be sure to check back throughout the night and tomorrow morning for analysis, articles, and videos from the players!