Carmelo Anthony displays rust in long-awaited NBA return

This wasn’t a storybook return to the NBA for Carmelo Anthony.

Anthony, who played his first NBA game in more than a year, started for the Trail Blazers. He scored Portland’s first points of the game by hitting a jumper from 26 feet out and scored 10 points. But his shot was rusty as he made just four of 14 shots in the Trail Blazers’ 115-104 loss to the Pelicans on Tuesday night in New Orleans.

Anthony didn’t wait long to put up his first shot. His miss from 20 feet came within the opening 30 seconds and was Portland’s first shot of the game. Anthony also took Portland’s second shot, hitting his first of two made 3s.

But when the former Knick tried to rise for a two-handed dunk in the first half, he was met with resistance by a member of the NBA’s rookie class when eighth overall draft pick Jaxson Hayes rejected the attempt.

Anthony also didn’t get a chance to play with four-time All-Star Damian Lillard. He who missed his first game of the season with back spasms. The 35-year-old Anthony, who played for the Knicks from 2011-2017, has averaged 24 points per game in his career, now entering its 17th season.

As for the Pelicans, Jrue Holiday had 22 points and 10 assists and Brandon Ingram added 21 points.

Ingram looked spry in his return from right knee soreness that sidelined him four games, particularly on an authoritative, driving, one-handed dunk that got the crowd roaring in the opening quarter.

J.J. Redick hit 4 of 9 3-pointers and scored 14 points for New Orleans, which has won two straight and three of four. Kenrich Williams, who got the start at forward, filled the stat sheet with hustle plays, grabbing 14 rebounds to go with three steals and a blocked shot. He also scored eight points.

Holiday highlighted his night with a spinning dribble around Nassir Little for a driving dunk. In the second half, he scored on an unusual play in which he remained under his own basket, re-tying his shoes while his team advanced 4-on-5 into the offensive end. Holiday then came sprinting down court, took a handoff from Nicolo Melli near the 3-point line and exploded toward the rim for a layup.

C.J. McCollum led Portland with 22 points, while Hassan Whiteside added 14 points and 14 rebounds.

— with AP

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