Anthony's message to teammates: 'Let's do it together'
Team play will be key for Nuggets in Game 5
If he were a social studies teacher from Baltimore, Carmelo Anthony’s words would probably stay confined to the classroom.
His perspective on the Civil War, the history of state capitals and the gross domestic product of Tanzania would hardly be considered worthy of dissection, discussion and mass dissemination.
It’s a different story for an Olympic gold medalist, NCAA champion, All-Star and leading scorer of the Denver Nuggets.
“When I say something, I see how important it is,” Anthony told the assembled media Tuesday.
Anthony created a buzz with his post-game comments after scoring 39 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in a loss to the Utah Jazz in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series Sunday night. Frustrated by seeing a 1-0 series lead quickly turn into 3-1 deficit, he said he needed more help from his teammates.
Anthony elaborated on the topic Tuesday.
“I need help trying to figure this thing out,” he said. “I’ve always told you, I can’t do it by myself – and I don’t want to try to do it by myself. I’ve tried to do it before, and it don’t work. I’m not going to be able to do this by myself without them other guys out there. When I said I needed help, I was coming from that standpoint of wanting everybody to get together and let’s do it together.
“Do I regret saying I need help? No. I said it. I can’t take it back now. I need help in the sense that I need everybody. We need to be on the same page if we’re going to turn this thing around.”
Anthony is averaging 34.5 points and seven rebounds in the playoffs, but he did not exclude himself from blame. He committed nine turnovers in Game 4 and picked up two offensive fouls, bringing his series total to seven. Acting coach Adrian Dantley pointed out that his star player needs to limit his mistakes Wednesday in Game 5 for Denver to be successful.
“If that’s how he felt, maybe I’ve got to do a better job of taking care of the basketball, not getting so many charges and just being aware of what’s going on out there,” Anthony said. “I can’t dispute what the head coach is saying. He’s on the sideline. If he sees that problem, then I’ve got to fix it.”
Anthony also shrugged off talk of Denver’s offense being selfish and questions about his exchange with forward Chris Andersen after Andersen took a long jumper in Game 4.
“The locker room is fine,” Anthony said. “We had a great practice today. Everybody seemed to be on the same page as of right now. And tomorrow, we’re going to go out there and battle.
“We’re positive. Yesterday was probably a day of, ‘What’s going on? What could we do?’ But I talked to my teammates. We talk basketball every day, so they know I’m not pointing nobody out individually. I’m in there with them. I’m not saying I’m playing the best I can play. I’m in there with them. We’re all losing together.”
Anthony and the Nuggets say they are now ready to win together. Down 3-1 in the best-of-seven series, there really is no other option.
“It’s all about effort, energy and how bad we want it,” Anthony said. “I think that’s what it all comes down to. . . The Jazz are playing great basketball right now. You can’t dispute that. We just got to figure it out.”