He did so in a big way on Thursday as he scored 17 points in the fourth quarter on his way to 24 for the game in order to lead the Blazers past the Philadelphia 76ers 118-114. Anthony came in averaging 12.5 points, but the 36-year old future Hall of Famer clearly has something left in the tank.
“I thought the beginning of the fourth was a game-changer,” said Joel Embiid after the game. “We gave him too much space and he’s a great player, he’s still got it, and he made a lot of tough shots.”
Anthony got the benefit of the whistle on his last drive when the officials called Tobias Harris for a foul. It looked like he tripped on his own two feet, but considering the way that it looked, it was a call that could not be avoided.
“Once Carmelo gets it going, he’s still Carmelo and he reminded us of that today,” said coach Doc Rivers. “The last play was a tough foul on Tobias, they had to call it. I thought Carmelo tripped, but lucky for him, he tripped into Tobias. That foul is always going to be called. We took tough, bad shots, and that got them running, that got them easy baskets, and that got Carmelo going.”
For the most part of the fourth, the Sixers went to Harris and Danny Green to defend Anthony. Ben Simmons was too busy defending Blazers superstar Damian Lillard and he did a terrific job against him.
Simmons was a big reason why Lillard only scored 11 points over the final three quarters after he scored 19 points in the first quarter. If Rivers takes Simmons off Lillard to slow down Anthony, then who defends the Blazers best player? One just has to accept that Anthony is who he is.
“Ben was busy guarding Damian Lillard,” Rivers explained. “I think Lillard was 2-for-14 the rest of the game and that was to Ben. You can always take Ben off him and let the other guy get going if you like. You can’t have him guard everybody.”
The Sixers now have to move on to face a tough Phoenix Suns team led by Devin Booker and Chris Paul on Saturday.
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