In the 3-6 matchup between the Trail Blazers and the Nuggets, the lower seed landed the first punch and came out on top. The 123-109 win gave Portland a 1-0 series lead and made them the second road team to win on Day 1 of the 2021 postseason.
There was another interesting anecdote to the victory, it was Carmelo Anthony's first in Denver since he was traded by the Nuggets back in 2011.
"I didn't even know that," Anthony said postgame.
"It's not even something I ever even thought about, to be honest with you. Somebody told me that when I was in the locker room after the game but I'll take it. I'll take my first win being Game 1 of Western Conference Playoffs."
Representing the New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder and now Trail Blazers, Anthony had a record of 0-10 in his visits to Denver.
In this one, however, he didn't just pick up the win. He played an invaluable role off the bench, especially in the first half.
💦 @carmeloanthony drops 18 PTS as the @trailblazers win Game 1 in Denver!- NBA (@NBA) May 23, 2021
Game 2 - Monday, 10 PM ET, TNT pic.twitter.com/ZhWyPziwQW
In 21 minutes of action, he finished the game with 18 points, 15 of which came in the first half.
While he was lighting up, the reception wasn't exactly what he expected but he knows there's not much he can do about that.
"It's cool man," Anthony said when asked about the boo's. "I love them too. I love those guys too."
"The love is there man. They love me, they hate me. I can't do nothing about that. Just go out there and smile, enjoy myself and have fun and play basketball. Whatever they have to say, let them say, it's not my concern."
Carmelo Anthony Appreciation Post pic.twitter.com/1SaGyoP4Ym- Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) May 23, 2021
He was Portland's leading scorer at intermission and it was his red-hot start from long range that ignited the team's record 3-point shooting.
He knocked down four 3-pointers as the Trail Blazers finished with a playoff franchise-record 19 at the final horn, one of the key differentiating factors between both teams in Game 1.
"Hall of Fame presence," Damian Lillard said postgame when asked about Anthony brought in this game. "In the first half, he pretty much carried us offensively."
Postgame with @Dame_Lillard after their 123-109 win over the Nuggets. pic.twitter.com/aD0tYPVcUK- Cassidy Hubbarth (@CassidyHubbarth) May 23, 2021
Anthony and the Trail Blazers will get a chance to extend their 1-0 series lead after a day's break with both teams suiting up for Game 2 on Tuesday at 7:30 a.m IST.
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