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Gregg Popovich 'Excited' for Carmelo Anthony's Success: 'He Loves the Game'

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMay 9, 2021

Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony brings the ball down court against the Charlotte Hornets during the first half in an NBA basketball game on Sunday, April 18, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Chris Carlson/Associated Press

Carmelo Anthony has earned the respect of San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich during his time in the NBA.

"He loves the game," Popovich said of the Portland Trail Blazers veteran Saturday. "He's having a great year doing a great job. He has been wonderful throughout his career. Anything that's good that happens for him, I'm very excited about it, because he has done a lot."

Anthony missed Saturday's game against the Spurs due to an ankle injury, but he is averaging 13.5 points per game off the bench for Portland this season. Even if being out of the starting lineup is rare for the 10-time All-Star, he has improved his efficiency with a 50.7 effective field-goal percentage that is the second-best of his career.

The 36-year-old is once again a key rotational player for a team likely headed to the playoffs at 39-29, a major turn of events after going about a year between games before signing with the Trail Blazers last season.

Though their paths haven't crossed in the NBA, Popovich has worked with Anthony as part of Team USA and is clearly a fan of the star player.

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