Carmelo Anthony missed nearly all of the 2018-19 season after the Houston Rockets parted ways with veteran forward just 10 games into the season.
After struggling to find a landing spot, Melo spent the remainder of the year preparing for an NBA team to give him a chance. Waiting longer than initially expected, that chance didn't come until after the beginning of the 2019-20 season.
When the Portland Trail Blazers got off to a slower than expected start after reaching the Western Conference Finals last year, they signed the 10-time All-Star to a one-year, non-guaranteed deal to give their struggling team a boost.
"Carmelo is an established star in this league that will provide a respected presence in our locker room and a skill set at a position of need on the floor," Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey stated after signing Anthony.
Although Portland didn't take off after adding Melo to their roster, they were playing better than before and the 17-year veteran was making an impact. Less than one month later, the Blazers fully guaranteed Anthony's contract to the end of the season.
Over the course of the 50 games that he has played with Portland, the 35-year-old had a handful of flashback moments to the superstar that was once one of the hardest players to defend in the entire league.
Take a look at three of those vintage Melo moments from this season.
The game-winner to beat the defending champion Raptors
This game was a classic scoring barrage from Anthony.
The Toronto Raptors were playing shorthanded, as they have so often this season. They missed All-Star forward Pascal Siakam the most, as he would have likely marked Melo in this contest. The Raptors tried a couple of different options to slow down the former scoring champion, from OG Anunoby and Serge Ibaka to Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, but no one had an answer.
Anthony torched Toronto for a game-high 28 points, shooting an efficient 10-for-17 from the field and 5-for-8 from 3.
With the score tied and under 10 seconds remaining, the Blazers had the ball with a chance to win the game. Secondary scoring option C.J. McCollum passed up the shot, and it wasn't to known clutch scorer Damian Lillard.
It was the veteran forward who's built for moments like these.
Melo took Anunoby off the dribble, got to his spot at the top of the key, pulled up for the game-winner and buried it.
The dagger to beat the Pistons
Anthony dropped 32 points on the Detroit Pistons - his highest scoring total of the season and the most points he's scored in a game in two years.
The Trail Blazers were desperate for a win, fighting for a playoff spot without All-Star guard Lillard, who had been sidelined with a groin injury. It took a heroic 42-point performance from McCollum along with Melo's scoring output to keep Portland within striking distance.
Up by two with 20 seconds remaining, that one-two punch ran a pick-and-roll on the wing to try and seal the victory. With McCollum's hot hand, the Pistons elected to try and freeze the guard as the pick-and-roll ball handler, leaving the veteran forward open.
A poor choice and bad mistake from Detroit's defence, giving Melo a chance to put the game away from his classic midrange spot.
You know how that ended.
Taking Zion Williamson to school
This is a classic case of showing a rookie the ropes. How many times have we seen Melo make this exact same move work?
Anthony had already knocked down two pull-up jumpers just outside the block on then 19-year-old phenom Zion Williamson earlier in this contest. He once again received the entry pass and squared up to his defender and the basket.
He hit Zion with a jab to keep him guessing. Williamson barely reacts, but Melo still goes up convincingly with one of his vintage pump fakes. The rookie forward barely leaves his feet but bites just enough that Anthony has him right where he wants him.
Melo gives another hard jab to make the off-balance defender think he's going to drive baseline, forcing Zion's momentum to try and prevent him beating him on that first step to the rim.
It's all over from there, as Williamson's hands are caught down by his sides as Anthony raises up for a midrange jumper that may as well be a layup for the 17-year veteran.
Just another lesson from Midrange Melo 101.
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