BLAZING A NEW TRAIL?

Why did it take so long for Carmelo Anthony to join an NBA roster?

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The Portland Trailblazers just recently signed Carmelo Anthony on Thursday night. Players and fans have been waiting for this acquisition for the longest.

Carmelo Anthony has been waiting for another opportunity ever since the Rockets let him go last season. When the Rockets acquired Anthony in the 2018 summer, the buzz about him already was he hated playing defense and was not a team player. The Rockets front office was worrying about if Anthony and Harden would get along. They wanted to add more perimeter shooting so they were able to match up with Golden State better. The Rockets decided to take a risk on Anthony.

As the 2018-2019 season started, the Rockets got off to a slow start with a record of 4-6. Questions were being asked if Anthony was a right fit for the Rocket's roster during the struggle. Daryl Morey and the Rockets analytics started to take a closer look at Anthony. After evaluating Anthony, Morey decided to let him go. Anthony's departure from the team had the league confused. Analysts wondered if Harden had anything to do with it. Chris Paul, Anthony's friend, was completely confused on why the Rockets let him go. Anthony at the time was averaging 13.4 ppg and was coming off the bench.


Rockets GM Daryl Morey talks about the rumors Carmelo Anthony will be dropped youtu.be

Dwayne Wade, Anthony's friend, felt like the Rockets used him as a scapegoat for the terrible start. Anthony went on First Take to explain the situation with the Rockets. He told Stephen A. Smith that Morey was not letting him suit up that night against the Spurs. Anthony was also appalled on what Morey said to him. He was defiantly confused after a 28 point performance against Brooklyn.


Carmelo Anthony talks leaving Rockets: I felt fired, CP3 and Harden didn't know | First Take youtu.be


For a good solid year people thought Anthony was black balled by NBA teams around the league. Anthony's situation was disappointing because no NBA team for the longest wanted to take chance on him. There were rumors that the Lakers were possibly going to sign him unless they made the playoffs last season. Anthony's best friend, Lakers's star, LeBron James, found it difficult to acquire him on the Lakers. Royce White, a player in the BIG3 league, called James out on Anthony's behalf. Former NBA players like Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson also believed that Anthony was black balled. They talked about Anthony's problems on their podcast "All the Smoke."


Royce White GOES OFF on LeBron James for Carmelo: "WHY IS YOUR BANANA BOAT BROTHER UNSIGNED?" youtu.be


Now that the noise is cleared, the Portland Trailblazers have recently acquired Anthony on Thursday. On Friday, Damian Lillard spoke to reporters about the Blazers acquiring Anthony. Lillard willingly expressed how Anthony can bring a veteran presence to the Blazers. The fun fact of the interview was on how Lillard mentioned he was a big Melo fan growing up. People were really excited about Anthony getting a chance to play the Rockets this Monday night. Sadly, there were reports from Adrian Wojnarowski saying Anthony will not play until Tuesday versus the Pelicans.


Damian Lillard grew up a Carmelo Anthony fan, thinks Melo can help the Blazers | NBA on ESPN youtu.be


Hopefully this transition with the Blazers helps out Anthony because a player like him deserves to be in the league.

Few things are darker in sports than a 21-point fourth quarter collapse after losing three straight prior to the game. Every game from this point forward becomes progressively more 'win-now'.

Chris Paul absolutely demolished the Rockets in the first half, scoring 27 points on 9 of 12 shooting from the field and 4 of 5 shooting from three-point range. Houston couldn't manage to slow him down until they started trapping Paul more and more in the second half and forcing other Thunder players to beat them. What the Rockets weren't counting on was for it to actually happen. Danilo Gallinari absolutely torched the Rockets in the fourth quarter (12 points on 3 of 4 shooting from three-point range and 3 of 3 shooting from the free throw line).

The Rockets were rolling in this game when they went small with P.J. Tucker at center (41 minutes played). Clint Capela was also in foul trouble all night so it was the more convenient strategy. The problem was their defense absolutely cratered without Clint Capela in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter due to lack of rim protection. At that point, Oklahoma City took the lead and never looked back. It also didn't help that James Harden was off as he was tonight (1 of 17 from three-point range) and Houston missed a lot of quality looks from beyond the arc as a unit (9 of 45 from three-point range).

Russell Westbrook was fantastic, but the Rockets are at their best when James Harden is humming and tonight marked the continuation of the struggles he's had for six games now. Harden is shooting 34.8% from the field and 23.9% from three-point range in this span. It's also not a coincidence that the Rockets are 1-5 in these games.

Star of the game: As with a lot of Houston's losses these past two weeks, Russell Westbrook was clearly the best player on the player on the floor tonight and it wasn't particularly close. Westbrook logged 32 points, 12 assists, 11 rebounds, and 2 steals on 16 of 24 shooting from the field. Although they lost, when things started to get rocky for the Rockets in the fourth quarter, Westbrook was the steady hand for this team. It'll be interesting to see how long his streak of efficient scoring keeps up, but the Rockets would be getting blown out of the building if not for Westbrook.

Honorable mention: James Harden wasn't nearly efficient enough (9 of 29 from the field) or careful enough with the basketball (5 turnovers) to earn second place honors tonight. Danuel House, however, was excellent (on the whole) after struggling to find a rhythm these past couple weeks. House logged 13 points on 5 of 11 shooting from the field and 3 of 7 shooting from three-point range. He was really rough in the fourth quarter (-25), but on the whole, this is an encouraging sign for House.

Key moment: The Rockets went into the fourth quarter with a 17-point lead and lost the game by 5 - that tells you all you need to know about this game. Houston played three really good quarters of basketball and lost focus in the fourth. James Harden missed step-back three after step-back three (0 for 3 from three-point range) and Houston couldn't buy a stop if it was given to them for free (41 points allowed).

Up next: The Rockets play the Denver Nuggets at 7:00 p.m. in Houston on Wednesday.

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