LOS ANGELES — The feel-good storyline to start off the week was Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony being named Western Conference Player of the Week following his sixth game of the season after being out of the league for over a year.
But the honor didn’t come without scorn, with many contending that Houston Rockets star James Harden and Dallas Mavericks young star Luka Doncic were more deserving candidates.
“I’ve seen the chatter, but I won’t allow myself to pay attention to that because I’ve come too far to start listening to that bull----, to be honest with you,” Anthony told Yahoo Sports. “I won’t allow that negativity to creep in. I’ve worked so hard to get to that point mentally and emotionally. I won’t even let it happen.”
Anthony averaged 22.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, shot 57.4 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from 3-point range while helping the Trail Blazers to a 3-0 record last week. The Trail Blazers had lost four straight before snapping the streak.
Harden averaged 47 points, 4.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists, and shot 53.1 percent from the field and 48.3 percent from beyond the arc to lead his team to a 2-0 record. His week was highlighted by a 60-point performance in three quarters against the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday.
Doncic averaged 30.3 points, 8.6 rebounds, nine assists, and shot 42.6 percent from the floor and 24.1 percent from long distance as the Mavs went 2-1 last week. He had a 42-point outing at Phoenix on Friday and was twice a rebound shy of securing a triple-double.
The league office decides its weekly honorees based on games from Monday to Sunday. So Harden was only credited with two games last week because he faced the Mavs on the previous week’s Sunday, which is why he wasn’t the top candidate, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The league seldom awards a player who played in just two games for the week, a league source told Yahoo Sports.
Portland’s 3-0 week is what gave Anthony the edge over Doncic, sources told Yahoo Sports.
“I’m very honored to have won the award,” Anthony told Yahoo Sports. “It just speaks to the hard work I put in to stay ready for this moment. I have nothing but respect for [Harden and Doncic]. I didn’t make the decision, but I’m grateful that I won the award.”
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