- Harry How/Getty Images
- After starting the season averaging less than 10 points per game on 32.5% shooting, newly-minted Houston Rocket Carmelo Anthony enjoyed back-to-back 20-plus point performances en route to averaging 17.8 points per game over the last six contests.
- That all changed Thursday night in his return to Oklahoma City, where he spent last season averaging 16.2 points per game.
- In his first contest back at Chesapeake Energy Arena, Anthony scored two points and shot an abysmal 9.1% from the field for the second-worst shooting performance of his 17-year NBA career.
It looked like Carmelo Anthony had finally found his groove with the Houston Rockets.
After starting the season averaging less than 10 points per game on 32.5% shooting, Anthony enjoyed back-to-back 20-plus point performances en route to averaging 17.8 points per game over the last six contests.
But theres nothing like a return to Oklahoma City to put out Melo’s flame.
In his first contest at Chesapeake Energy Arena since his lone season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Anthony scored two points and shot an abysmal 9.1% from the field and 0-for-6 from beyond the arc in 20 minutes of play. After starting 0-for-9 on the night, Anthony’s 1-of-11 shooting performance accounted for the second-worst showing of his career.
Oklahoma City downed the Rockets – who were considered one of the top teams in the NBA to start the season – 98-80 with star point guard Russell Westbrook sitting on the bench with an injury. Six different Thunder players recorded double figures on the night, with five-time All-Star Paul George leading all scorers with 20 points and 11 assists.
The rout was enough for Oklahoma City’s Nerlens Noel and Patrick Patterson high-fiving while denying Anthony at the rim:
— Basket Flow (@RealBasketFlow) November 9, 2018
For their part, Oklahoma City fans welcomed Anthony back with loud cheers when he first entered the contest, but perhaps they anticipated that their former small forward – who averaged 16.2 points per game on 40.4% shooting from the field last season – would be more helpful to the Thunder than to his own team.
Carmelo Anthony checks in for the first time back in OKC pic.twitter.com/KeYDDTA2SK
— Erik Horne (@ErikHorneOK) November 9, 2018
“I don’t think I did anything wrong in my time here to get a bad reception or get booed,” Anthony said, per NBA on ESPN. “I appreciate that reception.”
Miraculously, Anthony found some positive things to say about his return to the Sooner state.
“Outside of the game, it felt good being back,” he said. “It felt a little different playing against them, but it felt positive and it felt right and it felt good being out there and seeing everybody.”