Lakers credit Carmelo Anthony for comeback after wrestling vs. Pistons

NEW YORK — LeBron James was flanked by three team security personnel, who escorted him off the field in Detroit on Sunday as he was evicted for the second time in his 19-year career.

Not long after, he had another visitor from the team. Los Angeles Lakers forward Carmelo Anthony left the bench to check on James before returning to his teammates to get a message across: If only there was some time for the Lakers to look like the team they all thought they were were destined to be, no better time than the present.

“I just felt like we all had to come together, we had to believe in the bigger picture,” Anthony said during a video conference on Monday. “And I think in that moment, the way I could get everyone’s attention at that moment, we were looking for something like that. And last night it just happened to be me. Tomorrow it could be someone else. But last night at that point it was time to say something to get the car rolling a bit. We needed that.”

After the team collected one of the most successful rosters in league history this summer, it was a tough road for the Lakers with nearly a quarter of the season on the books. They went winless in the preseason, saw a handful of rotational players get injured, endured a clash between teammates in just the second game of the season and then the James-Isaiah Stewart incident in the star’s second game came back after an extended absence due to a tummy tuck.

“It’s a shame we had to go through that situation, but we needed something like this to get us off to a flying start,” explained Anthony. “We haven’t been tested like that all season and that was a big, big test that we went through last night.”

LA trailed the Pistons, a team that went under .500 for seven games the day, with 12 at the ejection and 15 to start the fourth quarter before the Lakers stormed back with a 37-17 lead in the game. last frame to get the win. Anthony’s message seemed to catch on.

“He was amazing,” a team source who was in attendance for the huddle told ESPN. “Balanced. Calm. Clear. Everyone held together. Ultimate vet.”

He also helped on the field by scoring 18 on 5-for-8 shooting and adding two rebounds and two blocks. The Lakers defeated the Pistons 13 in the 30 minutes he played.

“Melo has been great for us,” said coach Frank Vogel after the game on Sunday. “I can’t say that strongly enough. He’s really been a champion for all causes of what we’re trying to achieve. The defensive effort and buy-in, to try to play for each other. … He was the one who got the word took, along with others, to say we can’t let this turn out to be a loss. Like, we’ve got to get around this. So, credits to him.”

It was a reminder that 37-year-old Anthony, who joined the Lakers on a minimum veteran contract, still has a certain gravitas, even if he’s not the superstar he once was.

“Why did I say it? That’s just, that’s who I am,” Anthony said. “It’s part of what I do, who I am. … I’m a man who, I don’t say much, but when it’s time for me to speak, it just happens, it’s natural. It was” It wasn’t something that was premeditated It was just at that moment Gather everyone together We understood and we saw what happened And I said this [Sunday] night, the match could have gone on, it could have been worse.”

The Lakers hope the worst is over when it comes to the altercation. Vogel said Monday afternoon that the NBA’s investigation into the incident has not yet been concluded and that no further disciplinary action has been taken as a result of the run-up.

“They do the interviews, they talk to all the parties involved and then they make their decision,” Vogel said. “They’re still in that part of the process.”

When asked how the Lakers would deal with the potentially missing James for their game Tuesday against the New York Knicks if he were suspended, Anthony couldn’t help but think of not having his teammate on the field for LA’s only trip of the season. to Madison Square Garden.

“Well, we’re not going to put that energy out there,” he replied. “So we’re not even going to put that energy there.”

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