LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony all played big roles in the LA Lakers’ win over the Houston Rockets. While the Lakers were clearly in a good mood following their much-needed win, not everyone had the same gleeful disposition. The result of an unmuted mic from an irritated journalist made for one of the most hilarious pre-interview takes this season.
Carmelo Anthony, who was just making his way to the podium for a scheduled Zoom call, heard a deeply-felt expletive from an irascible journalist. The quote simply says it all (via Landon Buford):
“This is pissing me off. F*$*#&*^#@%k!!!”
The reason behind such a profound and trembling curse and who said it is still unclear. Other than the expletive, the background noise clearly echoes David Fizdale’s interview.
The journalist could be pressed for a deadline while the acting head coach’s media presser was still going on. Or he could be utterly frustrated with his internet connection. Whatever the case may be, it only added to Carmelo Anthony's cheerful vibe.
Can the LA Lakers sustain using Carmelo Anthony as the backup big man for LeBron James?
The LA Lakers fully embraced the small-ball lineup against the Houston Rockets. LeBron James started at center for the first time this season. Even more surprising in this game was the choice of Carmelo Anthony as James’ primary backup slot man. He played decent enough in the 11 minutes at center to relieve LeBron James.
Melo at center in limited game time this season hasn’t been good for the LA Lakers. David Fizdale may have been able to get away with this new strategy because they were playing the Rockets. The Lakers’ opponents were one of the worst in the league on both sides of the ball.
The 12x All-Star was the third-best player for the LA Lakers. He ended up with 24 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks. The Lakers outscored the Rockets by a team-best +17 in Carmelo Anthony’s 28 minutes of playing time.
As good as both Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James played, the Rockets also didn’t offer much threat in the post. Christian Wood and Alperen Sengun barely took advantage of the Lakers’ small-ball lineup. Anthony, in particular, can hardly get up to challenge shots near or above the rim.
Considering that both players are close to 40, the jostling and bumping in the paint might not be sustainable. LeBron James also has the task of playing point guard, which really takes plenty from the tank.
If the LA Lakers are successful again employing the same small-ball lineup against the bruising Memphis Grizzlies, they could have something sustainable going on.