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The Rundown: Melo turns back the clock, Heat keep rolling

February 12, 2021, 2:00 PM ● Chuck Araneta

Carmelo Anthony went vintage on all of us, leading the Blazers to a win over the Sixers.

Scoreboard

  • Heat 101, Rockets 94
  • Raptors 106, Celtics120
  • Pacers111, Pistons 95
  • Magic 105, Warriors 111
  • 76ers 114, Blazers 118

What went down

The Portland Trail Blazers were in a dogfight. They were standing toe to toe with the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia 76ers, bannered by top MVP candidate Joel Embiid. The Blazers, of course, had their own primetime player in Damian Lillard, who was in rare form, knocking down 19 of his 30 points in the first quarter alone.

But the Sixers weren’t willing to change time zones and follow Dame Time. With Ben Simmons hounding him on almost every possession, Lilliard’s efficiency began to plummet and eventually ended the night with a dismal 6-of-21 clip, one of his toughest shooting nights of the season.

Usually a subpar Lillard game, in addition to the loss of CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic to injuries, would equate to a Blazers loss. But there was one thing that the Sixers couldn’t contend with: a vintage performance from Blazers supersub Carmlo Anthony. 

Anthony put together his best scoring game of the season, scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter en route to 24 points. His final points proved to be the most instrumental as he calmly swished two free throws after he fished a foul from Tobias Harris with six seconds left in the game. A steal by Robert Covingon on the other end was enough for Portland to seal the big win, reminding everyone else that sometimes it’s still a good feeling to stay Melo.

Big-time baller

If you haven’t heard yet, Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry can still shoot the heck out of the basketball. He absolutely toyed with the defense of the Orlando Magic, knocking down 10 triples to finish with 40 points, the most scored on Friday.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr remains astounded by what Curry can do on the regular: "These 3s that he hits when there’s nothing there offensively and he just uses his dribble to free himself up, not exactly with a ton of space just a few inches of space, then he rises up and you expect every one of them to go in, it’s just crazy."

What he said

Don’t sleep on the Miami Heat. They’ve now won four games in a row, with the last one coming at the expense of the Houston Rockets. The Heat were led by Jimmy Butler who had his 10th triple-double of the season -- 27 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. 

"We're just gaining more and more confidence," Butler said. "We know what we're capable of and we know what we want to do."

What’s in a number?

7 - The number of road games that the Heat will be playing consecutively. 

12 - Combined number of 3s that Boston Celtics’ Payton Pritchard and Semi Ojeleye knocked down versus the Toronto Raptors.

8th - Klay Thompson’s ranking among guards in the second return of NBA All Star 2021 voting. With 225,169 votes, the Warriors guard is ahead of candidates like CJ McCollum, Jamal Murray, Mike Conley, De’Aaron Fox, Dejounte Murray, and John Wall.  Thompson has yet to play a game this season.