Portland Trail Blazers' Carmelo Anthony is finding a rhythm at the perfect time
There's a player in the Western Conference lighting up the NBA in his 18th season, and it isn't the one you're thinking of.
For the season, Anthony's numbers paint a picture of a player on the back end of his career, with a career-low 13 points per game and a career-worst 39.2% shooting from the field.
But over the past week, Anthony has shown signs of the player who was named an NBA All-Star 10 times and an All-NBA selection six times over the course of his career.
The Blazers have won four of their past five games, and Anthony has scored at least 20 points in all four wins. The stretch of victories culminated with a season-high 24 points from Anthony on Thursday in a 118-114 win over the Philadelphia 76ers, the Eastern Conference's current top seed.
While Anthony has been reminding fans — and teams across the league — of the player he once was, his recent performances have him moving up the NBA's all-time scoring list. On Feb. 9 against the Orlando Magic, he scored 23 points in a 106-97 win and moved into 12th all time in scoring, passing Oscar Robertson.
Anthony is now 200 points behind Hakeem Olajuwon for 11th on the all-time list.
In his career, he has averaged at least 20 points in 14 of his 18 seasons, with seven of those seasons topping 25 points per game.
That experience is why Blazers head coach Terry Stotts was willing to stick with Anthony and let him be aggressive, even in the face of an eight-game stretch from Jan. 14 to Feb. 1 that saw Anthony shoot above 40% from the field just twice.
It appears that Stotts' belief in Anthony is paying off, with the veteran breaking out of that slump with his recent stretch of quality performances.
In a postgame interview on "Inside The NBA" after the Blazers' win over the 76ers, Anthony described how his game in predicated on rhythm.
"I'm a rhythm guy. I get a rhythm and start feeling good, and the basket is big. The ball was going in tonight."
Through adversity in Portland, Anthony is staying Melo.
And that is good news for the Blazers.