CARMELO Anthony got the game ball after the Los Angeles Lakers’ first victory of the season.
Anthony had just scored a team-high 28 points, moving into ninth place on the NBA’s career scoring list, and was asked to make a speech. The 37-year-old Anthony said he was too tired.
Anthony Davis added 22 points and four blocks, and LeBron James scored 19 points as the Lakers overcame Ja Morant’s 40-point game and beat the Memphis Grizzlies 121-118 Monday morning (PH time).
There was plenty of drama in the final minute as Morant was fouled on a 3-point attempt by Kent Bazemore with 2.5 seconds left and Memphis trailing by three. Morant had a chance to tie the game, but missed the third and final free throw and the Lakers escaped with the win.
Anthony now has 27,423 career points, moving past Moses Malone (27,409). Shaquille O’Neal ranks eighth in scoring with 28,596 points.
“I keep saying it’s an honor and blessing to be on that list and pass Moses (Malone) for what he did for the game of basketball,” said Anthony, the third overall pick of the 2003 draft. “It’s hard to put it into words. That I’m still here and doing it, that’s what I’m excited about, that’ I’m here in year 19 and doing what I’m able to do. I’m still passionate about the game, and I’m still passionate about coming to work and getting better.”
The Lakers snapped a season-opening two-game losing streak. The Grizzlies lost for the first time after consecutive wins to open the season.
Morant shot 13 of 21 from the field and made a career-best five 3-pointers. He added 10 assists. By halftime, Morant had 17 points, including four 3-pointers.
“I really don’t care about what I’ve done tonight,” Morant said. “I missed a free throw to tie it. That’s pretty much the only thing on my mind.” (AP)