Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony has moved to 15th place on the NBA all-time scoring list after dropping 20 points against the Philadelphia 76ers and making it past John Havlicek and Paul Pierce. Anthony, the third overall pick of the 2003 NBA draft, also grabbed seven rebounds as the Trail Blazers defeated the 76ers 124-121 to remain alive in their hunt for a playoff spot.
"Well, first of all, it's an honor, and I'm blessed to still be able to do it," Anthony said postgame, as quoted on ESPN. "To reach that top 15, I wouldn't take it for granted. Some greats on there.
"[But] it's kind of hard to celebrate that at this moment. I appreciate it ... it's a great milestone. I don't want to downplay it. [But] it's very hard to harp on it and talk about it when you're still in this dogfight because there is so much we have to accomplish."
Meanwhile, Damian Lillard was determined to help the Trail Blazers clinch the win
After scoring a three pointer and being fouled on the play with 2:53 left in the fourth quarter, Lillard looked up on the scoreboard -- where he saw the Trail Blazers were up by two.
"I just remember looking up there because I wanted to get to the point where we took the lead and then just keep the lead instead of playing from behind," Lillard said. Because that's uncomfortable to be like, 'You're down two.
If they score, they can go up 5 if they make a shot.' "So I just looked up there like, 'OK, now let's walk away from them. Let's close the game out. Let's stop messing around with our season.' That's really what I was thinking when I looked up there.
Like, 'All right. Let's do this.' " A day earlier, Lillard missed a pair of free throws and a potential game tying three-pointer against the Los Angeles Clippers. Lillard was mad at himself for failing to lead his team past the Clippers so he dropped 51 points on the 76ers.
"After the game, I was irritated with myself," Lillard said. "I was frustrated. But it is what it is. I talked with one of my best friends, and he was like, 'This happened for a reason. You've had a lot of big moments, and you usually come out on top.
... You've got to expect there to be some type of balance. You've got to expect that sometimes you're going to have to respond to some type of adversity.' "I had a chance to get back on the court today, so I moved from it."