Monday marked Carmelo Anthony‘s best game since returning to the NBA, writes Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Anthony led all scorers with 25 points in 31 minutes as the Trail Blazers won in Chicago. He got a nice reception from Bulls fans and drew accolades from players who are happy to see him back in the league.
“I always advocated for him to be in the NBA,” Zach LaVine said. “… He’s better than a lot of people in the NBA, and he’s still getting it done. I think it was just bigger than that, and I’m glad to see him back here. Just not tonight.”
The performance raised questions about whether the Bulls should have given Anthony an opportunity when they had the chance. After the Rockets exiled him last season, they shipped him to Chicago in January in a cost-saving move. The Bulls waived him 10 days later. Anthony might have been able to revive his career sooner in the Windy City, but as he said after last night’s game, “They didn’t ask.”
There’s more from the Northwest Division:
- Jeff Teague‘s acceptance of a bench role in Minnesota is a rare move for a player in the final year of his contract, notes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Teague met with coach Ryan Saunders over the weekend before the change was finalized, sources tell Krawczynski. Rookie Jarrett Culver started alongside Andrew Wiggins last night and helped the Timberwolves win in Atlanta. Wiggins has taken on more of the playmaking duties this year, leaving Teague without a defined role in the offense. With a $19MM expiring contract, Teague may draw some interest on the trade market before the February 7 deadline.
- Abdel Nader can expect more playing time for the Thunder with Hamidou Diallo sidelined with an elbow injury, states Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. The third-year guard lives 15 minutes away from the team’s practice facility and sometimes works on his game until 3 a.m. “I’m a little bit crazy when it comes to the work I’ve gotta put in,” Nader said. “I wanna make sure my game feels tight — my shot, my handle, everything. That’s how I feel like I get better.”
- Paul George and Russell Westbrook, who were the Thunder’s stars last year, had their first meeting of the season Friday when the Clippers hosted the Rockets and both have landed in better situations, contends Ben Golliver of The Washington Post.