Carmelo Anthony made his return to Denver to face the Nuggets, his first in the NBA. After more than seven years in the organization, taking them to compete in the Western Conference, Melo returned with the Portland Trail Blazers in the first game of their playoffs series.
The fans welcomed him with boos, which surprised a lot of people, including Melo. Yet, that fueled him to get things going from the beginning, sinking a couple of 3s and letting fans know it was fine if they wanted to boo him.
After the Blazers earned a huge 123-109 win over Nikola Jokic and his Nuggets, Melo was asked about the boos. As the rest of the league, he was as surprised to see how the Nuggets fans welcomed him.
"I don't have that answer. I don't know what it is," he said when asked if to explain the fans' attitude. "I gave my all here for seven and a half, eight years.
"I never said anything bad about Denver, the fans, the organization, the players, I never complained. It's like I was birthed here with the Denver Nuggets. I started my career here and this will always be a special place for me."
Melo reminded everybody that he left that organization 10 years ago. Still, he had nothing but good things to say about them.
"It's cool, man. I love them too. I love those guys too," said Anthony afterwards."It's been what, almost 10 years now since I've been here. The love is there man. They love me, they hate me. I can't do nothing about that.
"I've just got to 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."
The Trail Blazers stole home-court advantage with this win. Damian Lillard led the squad with 34 points, 13 assists, and 4 rebounds. Anthony added 18 points, helping his team to upset the 3rd seed in the Western Conference.
This appears to be one of the closest series of this round. Denver needs to bounce back in Game 2, or the situation will get a lot more complicated for them. If Melo keeps taking things personally, they will have a hard time against his team.