NBA All-Star starters announced, Damian Lillard finishes 5th in voting among Western Conference guards

usatsi_10624005.jpg
USA Today Images

NBA All-Star starters announced, Damian Lillard finishes 5th in voting among Western Conference guards

The 2019 NBA All-Star Game starters, as well as the voting results, were revealed on Thursday night.

Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard finished fifth overall in the voting amongst Western Conference behind guards Steph Curry, James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose.

Lillard finished sixth in the fan voting, fifth in player voting and he came in fourth in the media voting.

Here's how the fan voting finished for Western Conference guards: 

***Courtesy of NBA

Last year, Lillard finished eighth overall.

This year fans made up 50 percent of the vote for the starters, while the players and specific media members each made up 25 percent of the vote.

The 28-year-old is averaging 26.3 points on 45 percent shooting from the field and 37 percent shooting from long distance, to go along with 6.2 assists and 4.5 rebounds this season.

Lakers forward LeBron James will be the captain for the Western Conference, or as it should be noted, Team No. 1.

The other four starters from the West are Golden State’s Steph Curry and Kevin Durant, along with Houston’s James Harden and Oklahoma City’s Paul George.

The five starters from the Eastern Conference include Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, who will be Team No. 2’s captain, Boston’s Kyrie Irving, Charlotte’s Kemba Walker, Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard and Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid.

The All-Star Game reserves will be selected by the head coaches.

For the second year in a row, the two teams captains will then pick their teams, regardless of what conference the player is affiliated with and it does not matter the position the player plays either.

People took to social media when it was announced that Rose finished ahead of Lillard in the players voting.

The reserves for the All-Star game will be announced next Thursday.

The 2019 All-Star Game is February 17th in Charlotte.

Brandon Roy vs. Carmelo Anthony: Merry Christmas in May!

Brandon Roy vs. Carmelo Anthony: Merry Christmas in May!

Wasn’t it crazy seeing former (but at the time future) Trail Blazer Arron Afflalo in a Denver Nuggets jersey!?

What? Was Afflalo not the one who came to mind?

Okay, but for real, it’s a trip to think about Carmelo Anthony’s NBA journey, especially witnessing him in his prime with the Nuggets.

For Trail Blazers fans watching the 2009 Christmas Day Game between the Blazers and Nuggets on NBCSNW Tuesday night, who would’ve thought that 10 years later Melo would be a Trail Blazer?  

This Trail Blazers Classic Game was an instant classic for both Brandon Roy and Carmelo Anthony.

The B-Roy vs. Melo showdown was extra special in front of a sold out Rose Garden crowd. (86th consecutive sell out).

And boy, were Trail Blazers fans giving it to the Nuggets forward!

Melo picked up his fourth foul with just under eight minutes remaining in the third, and that ignited the Blazers crowd. It also helped that Martell Webster drained a corner three, but it’s funny to think about how much a fan base can give an opposing star player so much grief and now show him so much love.

Roy carried the Blazers in the scoring department, helping Portland beat Denver, 107-96.

Heading into this Christmas game, the Blazers were 13-2 in Christmas showdowns.

Roy went 9-of-14 from the field to score 25 points in the first half and continued his scoring tear in the second half.

It seemed as though Melo was prompted to drive it hard to the hoop or make sure he scored on the baseline following any Roy bucket at the other end. 

Roy’s 41 points in the win was a franchise Christmas record.

The Trail Blazers guard learned from his Christmas Day game experience the year before when he went 8-for-20 from the field in a 102-94 home loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

Melo finished with 32 points. At that point of the season, he was the NBA’s leading scorer, averaging 30.3 points per game.

After more than 10 years since this game was played, Rip City shared its emotions thinking about how much they miss watching B-Roy.

Seeing Roy in his fourth season in the league battle it out against Melo in his seventh season, makes it hard to not think about Roy still playing in the league today. 

During the Trail Blazers 2009-10 season, Roy averaged 21.5 points, 4.7 assists, and 4.4 rebounds.

Anthony averaged 28.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 3.2 assists.

Roy’s 41 points on Christmas tied him for 5th in the NBA for points on Christmas Day since 2000. 

The two players were, of course, critical scorers and leaders for their teams.

At 35 years old, Melo brought what felt like Christmas cheer to the Trail Blazers this season.

Now as we eagerly await the NBA’s decision on if/when the 2019-20 season will resume, and what the 2020-21 season could look like, just imagine the Trail Blazers hosting the Denver Nuggets next season with Melo still wearing a Blazer uniform.

That would be fun!  

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.

Damian Lillard wants to play for something and have a fair shot at it

Damian Lillard wants to play for something and have a fair shot at it

Early Tuesday morning, Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard told Yahoo! Sports' Chris Haynes that he would not play when the NBA returns unless Portland has a chance to compete for a playoff berth.

If we come back and they're just like, 'We're adding a few games to finish the regular season,' and they're throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don't have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I'm going to be with my team because I'm a part of the team. But I'm not going to be participating. I'm telling you that right now. And you can put that [expletive] in there. — Damian Lillard

[RELATED]: Damian Lillard is sending a message to the NBA -- give us a shot at playoffs

He added further context to those comments later on in the day during an appearance on Basketball Jones with Mark Jones, reiterating that he wants to play but only if the team can finish the playoff race they were in before the coronavirus suspended the season on March 11.

Obviously, we are professional basketball players so we want to play. A lot of us haven't been training. You know, preparing for that because we started the season so of course, we want to finish it. But, like right before we had this break, right before COVID-19 hit we were in the middle of a playoff race. You know, a pretty tight playoff race not just with us but the 10th, 11th, and 12th place teams in the Western Conference are within striking distance. You looking at 15, 16 games remaining and you have an opportunity to close in. So now with these things happening you just hope that when we do come back and play that you have an opportunity to still be in pursuit of that. Instead of just coming back and playing just to play. That's not what anybody wants. - Damian Lillard

Portland's franchise player's message remains clear: If the NBA wants him to play again this season the league needs to give Lillard something to play for.

Who can blame him and the franchise? 

Lillard signed a four-year, $196 million supermax extension with the franchise last offseason following Portland's deepest playoff run since 2000. That extension will not even kick in for another two years until the 2021-22 NBA season. Having invested over $250 million in Lillard over the next six seasons, why would Portland play him if the team cannot make the postseason? 

Especially when Lillard suffered a groin strain in the Blazers' final game before the All-Star break that forced him to miss three games. He did return to the lineup before the season's suspension, but the Blazers would be smart to have him sit out any remaining games that don't matter in the grand scheme. 

"We want to play but we want to play for something," Lillard went on to say. "I'm still training and preparing to play but we just want to play for something." 

Lillard had been averaging 28.9 points and 7.8 assists in 36.9 minutes per game in 58 appearances.  

The NBA announced this past Saturday that they have entered negotiations with the Walt Disney Corporation to play out the rest of the 2019-20 season at its ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida.

[RELATED]: NBA in talks with Disney to resume season late July in Orlando

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.

Michael Jordan's laugh from 'The Last Dance' had Gary Payton heated

Michael Jordan's laugh from 'The Last Dance' had Gary Payton heated

‘The Last Dance’ documentary not only brought us a 10-part series diving into the Michael Jordan era of the Chicago Bulls franchise, but some of the internet’s newest viral moments and memes to date.

One of those memes sparked from the producers of the documentary sharing a video of Gary ‘The Glove’ Payton discussing what it was like to guard Michael Jordan or more so “bothered him” during the 1996 NBA Finals between the Seattle SuperSonics and Chicago Bulls. Jordan watched the video listened and laughed and Payton’s explanation: “The Glove. I had no problem with The Glove.”

Here’s what Payton had to say Payton on “The Opinionated 7-Footers” after that part of the documentary aired:

You know I was hot. I was thinking about calling him at the time. I’d be like, “Yo, OK, now you want to hindsight and lie in front of everybody? Alright. It’s all good. I’m glad he said that, because I wouldn’t expect nothing else from him. I wouldn’t expect nothing else from Michael Jordan. Michael Jordan is Michael Jordan. That’s why we’re talking about it. — Gary Payton

Of course, the 1996 Finals MVP was awarded to Michael Jordan who averaged 27.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists while Payton averaged 18.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game during the series that ended with another Bulls ring.

Chicago jumped out to a 3-0 lead in this best-of-7 Finals series before Seattle won the next two forcing a game six back in Chicago. The Bulls then claimed their fourth title with an 87-75 victory over Seattle in the Windy City.

From one competitor to another, there is a certain respect level there.

But you know what, that’s what I expect out of Mike. Because I would’ve said the same thing. I would’ve said the same thing. You know me, B. I’m not going to admit to nothing, man. I’m not going admit to somebody that D’d me up or did nothing. I’ll always tell you that any time in my career, nobody gave me problems but one person, and that’s John Stockton to me. So, that is just the way the game goes. — Gary Payton

Dan Feldman of NBC Sports’ Pro Basketball Talk adds, “Payton and Jordan were great trash talkers. Jordan isn’t required to provide an accurate assessment of Payton’s defense. Jordan was just trying to hype up Jordan and diss a rival. Payton understands the game. He doesn’t need to turn it into something bigger. He’ll just dish it right back with a line about John Stockton being harder to guard than Jordan."

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.

Damian Lillard is taking a calculated measure by speaking up now

Damian Lillard is taking a calculated measure by speaking up now

Our Dwight Jaynes caught up with Yahoo! Sports NBA Insider Chris Haynes to discuss his latest conversation with Trail Blazers superstar Damian Lillard.

Tuesday morning, Haynes posted about his latest interview with Lillard in which the 5-time All-Star said he would not be playing in games if his team doesn’t have a shot at the playoffs.  

When the NBA season was suspended on March 14, the Trail Blazers (29-37) were currently in the ninth spot out West, sitting 3.5 games behind the eight seeded Memphis Grizzlies. Portland was slated to play Memphis twice at home.

If we come back and they're just like, 'We're adding a few games to finish the regular season,' and they're throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don't have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I'm going to be with my team because I'm a part of the team. But I'm not going to be participating. I'm telling you that right now. And you can put that [expletive] in there. — Damian Lillard

Haynes believes the teams would also be on board with Lillard’s thinking if there is no way to make it to the postseason. 

“Think about it Dwight, if the Blazers were indeed mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, the team would sit the players, the star plays down and just go young. So, that would be the case anyways,” Haynes told Jaynes.

[RELATED]: Damian Lillard is sending a message to the NBA -- give us a shot at playoffs

According to NBC Sports' Pro Basketball Talk, the NBPA has been reaching out to players to receive feedback on particular scenarios for the NBA's return.

Could Lillard’s comments help persuade Commissioner Adam Silver and the league to return to play with a mini play-in tournament to determine playoffs?

Haynes believes that could be the case.

I think there’s a calculated measure to voice his opinion in this timing right now because at the end of the week, Adam Silver will rule on how the NBA is going to move forward with this season. Will there be some type of play-in style tournament? Will there be just a top 8 from each conference going to the playoffs? Will there be 1-16 regardless of conference type of a seeding? I do think Damian Lillard made a calculated decision to say this right now, but he’s not the minority. There’s a lot of star players who feel that way. He’s just the first. Dame’s just the first one to say this publicly. -- Yahoo! Sports NBA Insider Chris Haynes

Lillard is still prepared to get back to work with his team; however, for this NBA superstar it’s all about competing and getting the opportunity to continue the Trail Blazers postseason streak.

“If we come back and I don't have an opportunity to make the playoffs, I will show up to work, I'll be at practice and I'll be with my team,” Lillard said. “I'm going to do all that [expletive] and then I'm going to be sitting right on that bench during the games. If they come back and say it's something like a tournament, play-in style, between the No. 7 and No. 12 seeds, if we're playing for playoff spots, then I think that's perfect." 

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.

How to watch: Trail Blazers vs. Denver Nuggets 2009 Christmas Day Game

How to watch: Trail Blazers vs. Denver Nuggets 2009 Christmas Day Game

This Trail Blazers Classic Game was an instant classic for both Brandon Roy and Carmelo Anthony.

It was a battle between the two that not many will ever forget.

And now we are celebrating Christmas in May!

Yes, Merry Christmas to Rip City!

Tonight at 6:30pm on NBCSNW, re-watch the Christmas Day Game of 2009 when Brandon Roy dropped 41 points in the Trail Blazers 107-96 victory over the Denver Nuggets.

The B-Roy vs. Melo showdown was pretty special in front of the sold out Rose Garden crowd.

It’s even more special to Trail Blazers fans now that Anthony is a Trail Blazer.

Roy’s 41 points was a franchise Christmas record. The Trail Blazers guard learned from his Christmas Day game experience the year before when he went 8-for-20 from the field in a 102-94 home loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

The 2009 Christmas game gave Rip City hope when all seemed lost with Greg Oden and Rudy Fernandez’s injuries. Unfortunately, injuries continued to pile up for the Blazers, but on Dec. 25, 2009 this was an extremely enjoyable Christmas gift in Portland.

Melo finished with 32 points for the Nuggets. At that point of the season, he was the NBA’s leading scorer, averaging 30.3 points per game.

In the win, Steve Blake added 17 points with 14 of those points coming in the fourth quarter.

Here’s just a little taste of what you will see tonight at 6:30pm:

The Trail Blazers hold a 14-4 overall record for Christmas Day games. Their last Christmas battle came in 2018 when they fell to the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City, 117-96.

Starters for 2009 Christmas Day Game:

DENVER

Kenyon Martin

Carmelo Anthony

Nene

Chauncey Billups

Arron Afflalo

PORTLAND

LaMarcus Aldridge

Brandon Roy

Andre Miller

Martell Webster

HOW TO WATCH: Trail Blazer vs. Nuggets from Dec. 25, 2009

WHEN: Tuesday, May 26 at 6:30pm 

Channel: NBC Sports Northwest, Channel 737 (Portland), 617 (Seattle)

CHANNEL FINDER

Stream the game here.  

Or stream the game on your phone with the 'MyTeams' App -- available in the App Store for iPhones and on Google play. 

Damian Lillard is sending a message to the NBA -- give us a shot at playoffs

Damian Lillard is sending a message to the NBA -- give us a shot at playoffs

It is not unexpected that Damian Lillard says he won’t participate if the Trail Blazers are brought back this summer by the NBA to play just a few games without any chance of earning a playoff berth.

I would not expect one of the game’s great competitors to be involved in such a situation. With nothing to play for, why play? Especially after such a long layoff? These would be exhibition games -- and you know how much playing time stars get in exhibition games.

But, of course, even by saying this, I think Lillard plants a seed with the league that they better give the borderline teams a chance for a playoff berth -- either by playing out the full schedule or (more likely) using a play-in tournament.

And I think this may have been Lillard’s motivation for going public with this statement. He wants his team to have a shot at a playoff berth and this may help the cause.

I would expect other talented players to follow Lillard’s lead, by the way. And this isn’t going to be much of a television product without the NBA’s best players taking part.

I would expect, by saying this, Lillard will move the needle toward the most likely course -- play enough “regular season” games to get all teams to 70 total contests, satisfying local television contracts, then go to some sort of mini-tournament.

I do not think all teams will be involved in that. Use common sense and invite the teams that are realistically close to earning a berth and leave the bottom-feeders out. Seed them using the current standings and let them go at it.

The most likely plan would probably be to get Western Conference hopefuls Portland, New Orleans, Sacramento, San Antonio and Memphis together -- perhaps giving the Grizzlies (since they hold the No. 8 spot) a chance to sit out and play the winner of a four-team mini-tourney for that final spot. Maybe make that series vs. Memphis a best-of-three.

Win or go home in the four-teamer. Sudden death.

It would be wild. And fun.

Damian Lillard won't play if Trail Blazers have no shot to make playoffs

Damian Lillard won't play if Trail Blazers have no shot to make playoffs

With the NBA beginning to make headways to resume its season, there is a big collective voice in the room that needs to be considered when making those final decisions: The players.

According to NBC Sports' Pro Basketball Talk, the NBPA is reaching out to players and receiving feedback on particular scenarios for return.

Player safety should and will be at the forefront of all these discussions to bring the NBA back. One of those players has taken his stance with this entire situation that has still yet to be concrete, and that’s Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard.

On Tuesday morning in an interview with Chris Haynes, NBA Insider for Yahoo Sports, Lillard said he would not play in games under certain circumstances.

If we come back and they're just like, 'We're adding a few games to finish the regular season,' and they're throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don't have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I'm going to be with my team because I'm a part of the team. But I'm not going to be participating. I'm telling you that right now. And you can put that [expletive] in there. — Damian Lillard

There are numerous options floating around how to return the NBA season and what that will look like. A play-in tournament for the playoffs? Go right into the playoffs with the top-8 seeds before the NBA season was suspended? 

In more recent news, conversations have begun to take shape of having the the NBA resume in late July at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

When the NBA season suspended on March 14, the Blazers (29-37) were currently in the ninth spot in the Western Conference standings sitting 3.5 games behind the eight seed Memphis Grizzlies.

Make no mistake, if the league decides to give those teams with a fighting chance to play and earn a playoff spot, Lillard will bring it.

If we come back and I don't have an opportunity to make the playoffs, I will show up to work, I'll be at practice and I'll be with my team. I'm going to do all that [expletive] and then I'm going to be sitting right on that bench during the games. If they come back and say it's something like a tournament, play-in style, between the No. 7 and No. 12 seeds, if we're playing for playoff spots, then I think that's perfect. — Damian Lillard

More from our Trail Blazers Insider Dwight Jaynes to come.

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.

CJ McCollum almost quit basketball, thank goodness his mom stepped in

CJ McCollum almost quit basketball, thank goodness his mom stepped in

Imagine a world where CJ McCollum didn’t become a Portland Trail Blazer.

Now imagine, McCollum wasn’t even drafted in the NBA because, as a youngster, he was ready to give up on his "ball is life" mentality.

That nearly transpired. 

During the NBA hiatus, Trail Blazers sideline reporter Brooke Olzendam has been able to catch up with a handful of players. This past week, Olzendam sat down with McCollum over video chat.

In his seventh year in the league, McCollum is grateful for his mom and dad’s continued support.   

“My parents have done a tremendous job, over the course of my career,” McCollum said. “They try to make every game and I think my rookie year, my mom made every game… They’ve been really consistent and it’s all you can ask for as a kid.”

The now 28-year-old is just like all of us. 

He had doubts growing up.

Was he on the right path?

Should he stick with basketball?

These types of questions entered McCollum’s mind.

It’s crazy, I almost quit basketball when I was younger. Just all those things that I’ve gone through from a sports standpoint to having confidence -- [my parents] had confidence in me, the faith in me before I really had it in myself. So, I’m forever grateful and thankful. And I always tell them, you know, ‘I’ll try to repay you the best I can, but you gave me the gift of life, so there’s nothing much I can do.’ -- Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum  

From the sounds of it, McCollum wasn’t about to turn to football over basketball. He joked on his Twitter page, “I only wanted to play qb. Wasn’t going across the middle for anybody."

Basketball was his sport, but it took a big nudge, or a firm talking to from a special someone for him to not give up on his dream.

I was young. This wasn’t going well for me. It was like a turning point in my life where I had to make a decision. You know, how much are you going to dedicate yourself to this? And if you’re not, plan B, like -- I gotta get a 4.0 because [my parents] told me they weren’t paying for my school early on. So, I had to figure out a way to kind of delegate my time. I was working out and I wasn’t really performing the way I wanted to so I kind of had to figure out, okay, ‘what are you really going to do?’ And my mom was like, ‘you’re not a quitter, I didn’t raise no quitters...’ And the rest is history. -- CJ McCollum told Brooke Olzendam

McCollum also admitted that he’s not completely sure if he would’ve really pulled the trigger and quit basketball, even if his mom had not stepped in to help him stay on track.

Before the NBA was forced to suspend the 2019-20 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, McCollum was averaging 22.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, and tying a career best in assists with 4.3. The last time he averaged that many dimes was during the 2015-16 season. Last season he averaged 3.0.

You can watch the entire CJ McCollum interview RIGHT HERE

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.

Would Carmelo Anthony ever reunite with the Denver Nuggets?

Would Carmelo Anthony ever reunite with the Denver Nuggets?

Dec. 12, 2019 -- The day future Hall of Famer Carmelo Anthony stepped back on the Pepsi Center floor in front of his first-ever NBA home crowd.  

A day he feared would never happen.

But, thanks to the Trail Blazers, it did happen.

The Blazers lost to the Nuggets 114-99; however, the game itself was never really a storyline that day.

It was about a reunion after a year of not playing.


Denver improved to 15-8 after the win.

This was a game that Anthony had thought might never happen, in fact, just recently during the NBA hiatus, the Trail Blazers veteran opened up, admitting that he felt like he "hit rock bottom" when his career was in limbo and he was searching for a team to give him another shot.

In his first time back to Denver since he returned from his one-year hiatus, the question on everyone's mind was how would he be received...

We got the answer.

Nuggets fans had buried the hatchet.

Anthony played for Denver for 7 1/2 years before being traded to New York.

Melo's time in Denver eventually soured when speculation began in the 2010–11 season that he wanted out of Denver. It led to some tumultuous times before the trade to the Knicks eventually occurred in February of 2011. 

But, that day on Dec. 12, 2019, there were no grudges.

And, just as the Nuggets fans showed Melo love, the Denver media showed up in droves wanting to hear from the player they used to cover.

Prior to the Blazers taking on the Nuggets, Melo told reporters that if there would've been a chance for him to reunite with the Nuggets, he was “open to it.”

We talked about it. People in my circle were like, ‘Go back to Denver.’ If it was that easy I probably would’ve done it. A lot of things came into play when it comes to that, kind of out of my control at that time, the timing was off. Similar to Portland, the timing has always just been off. All of the sudden that window of opportunity was there [in Portland]. -- Carmelo Anthony

Denver was Anthony’s third-consecutive game against one of his former teams over that week span in early December. Portland lost to Oklahoma City earlier in the week before beating New York and then making their way to Denver.

During that morning’s shootaround at the Pepsi Center, the 2013 NBA scoring champ, spoke highly of his time in the Mile High City.

“I don’t think I can ever stop appreciating not just the organization but the city as a whole. We were at a point in time where it was a shift, the team had just only won 17 games prior to when we came in. We kind of started or created a different culture here. The uniforms changed, we changed the colors of the uniform, the vibe in Denver was different, the aura in the city, the energy was different. We were a part of that change.”

The Melo Effect was quickly visible after he was selected third overall in the 2003 NBA draft.

The Nuggets improved their win total by twenty-six games in Anthony's rookie season. They had a winning record, they made the playoffs. Melo averaged 2.1 points and 6.1 rebounds, he was the clear reason for their turnaround.

And now there’s just one thing missing in Denver, at least according to Anthony:

The No. 15 hanging from the rafters.

The former Nuggets forward believes it would be fitting to have his number retired in Denver.

This is where it should be retired to be honest with you, just my opinion… I think that the history is here, it’s where it all started. -- Carmelo Anthony after the Dec. 12 game.

Denver has not made such arrangements. Nuggets All-Star center Nikola Jokic currently wears No. 15.

Melo joked that could be a problem.  

“Maybe not because Jokic got 15 now. We’ll see, man. We still got time,” Melo laughed.

Yes, the Nuggets still have time for a man who gave them his heart and soul for seven-and-a-half years.

Anthony played and started in 80 games during the 2005–06 season with the Nuggets, averaging 26.5 points (eighth, NBA), 2.7 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game.

That season CLUTCH MELO became a thing.

The year, Anthony made five game-winning shots in the last five seconds:

  • At Houston on January 8,
  • At home vs. Phoenix on January 10 
  • At Minnesota on February 24
  • At Indiana on March 15
  • At home versus the Los Angeles Lakers on April 6

The Blazers know about his game-winning buckets, sorry about your bad luck this season, Toronto.

But, for all the regular season success Anthony had with Denver, there wasn’t much in the way of postseason success. He holds an overall record of 17-38 in playoff games and 10 of his wins came during the Nuggets 2009 run to the Western Conference Finals before falling to the Lakers.

Really, though, who could blame Melo for wanting out of Denver? He hadn’t reached his goal of winning it all after being on the Mile High City for over seven years.

It took just one year in college.  

During the 2002–03 season, Melo’s freshmen year, he averaged 22.2 points and guided the Orange to their first-ever NCAA tournament title. 

He had said he was planning to play for Syracuse for a couple of more years before the season started, but after accomplishing his goal of winning a championship he knew he could move on.

The quest for an NBA championship continues now with Damian Lillard and Co.    

Because it sure doesn't seem like Melo is ready to move on.

(By the way, Tuesday’s Trail Blazers Classic Game features Carmelo Anthony vs. Brandon Roy in the epic 2009 Christmas Day battle between the Blazers and Nuggets. Check it out at 6:30pm on NBCSNW.) 

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.