Carmelo Anthony Clarifies 'I Need Some Help' Comment
After Anthony's Denver Nuggets lost Sunday, 117-106, to fall behind Utah 3-1 in a West first-round series, Anthony said, "I need some help.'' Anthony scored 39 points while no teammate netted more than 14.
Among other things, Anthony's comment has been used to show the Nuggets are a fractured unit heading into Wednesday's Game 5 at home. Anthony, as a result, wanted to clarify it.
"I think when I said I needed some more help, I think it was took out of context,'' Anthony said Tuesday. "I need help trying to figure this thing out. I've always told you I can't do it by myself. I don't want to try to do it by myself. I've been there. I didn't try to do that before. It don't work. I'm not going to be able to do this by myself without them other guys out there. So when I said I needed help, I was coming from that standpoint of wanting everybody to get together and let's do it together.''
Anthony insisted the Nuggets are not panicking and not on the verge of imploding despite some evidence to the contrary. Guard J.R. Smith tweeted after Sunday's game that the team, which had just 13 assists in Game 4, is being "selfish,'' and Smith stood by that in an interview Monday with FanHouse.
Anthony had an animated conversation with teammate Chris Andersen after the big man jacked up a 20-footer in Game 4. But both sides said that has been resolved.
"The locker room is fine,'' said Anthony, averaging 34.5 points in the series. "We had a great practice [Tuesday]. Everybody seemed to be on the same page as of right now. And [Wednesday), we're going to go out there and battle.''
Anthony, who ducked the media Monday, said he didn't even know about Smith's tweet.
"I didn't feel any friction in there in practice [Tuesday],'' said Anthony, who admitted he's surprised the Jazz have beaten the Nuggets three straight times after a Game 1 loss. "Everybody was on the same, talking about what we've got to do [Wednesday]. As far as J.R.'s Twitter, I haven't been on Twitter in so long, like a couple weeks, so I don't know what's being said and I don't want to try to harp on that.
"We're positive. [Monday] was probably a day of, 'What's going on? What could we do?' 'I think a lot of people took what I said when I said I needed help the wrong way. But I talked to my teammates. They know what I meant. 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 that I can play. I'm in there with them. We're all losing together.''
After Game 4, Anthony said, "I'm trying to do everything I can in my power to beat the Jazz, but, at the end of the day, I need some help. I'm not sitting here pointing fingers or nothing. But, as a unit, we just got to do this together. I can't do it by myself.''
That wasn't the only interesting aspect of Sunday's post-game interview session. Nuggets acting coach Adrian Dantley (right) was critical of Anthony for committing nine turnovers.
Anthony, though, said Tuesday he had no problem with Dantley singling him out.
"He said it,'' Anthony said. "It is what it is. If that's how he felt, then 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. I can't dispute what the head coach is saying. If he's on the sideline, he sees that problem; I've got to fix it."
Dantley on Tuesday stood by his criticism of Anthony's turnovers, calling it "abnormal'' and believing it will not happen again. He said that, with the Jazz running different defenses at Anthony, he's "just got to pay attention.''
Dantley was glad to hear of Anthony backing off on his comment of needing help.
"Yeah,'' Dantley said. "A lot of times, when you play basketball ... what somebody is saying [after a tough loss], that's something that they might not mean that way. [The player] might right after the game be frustrated.''
Anthony on Tuesday expressed some surprise at the attention his comment had gotten, and attempted to explain more about what he meant.
"I see that when I say something how important it is,'' Anthony said. "Do I regret saying I need help? No. I said it. I can't take it back now. I need help in the sense of I need everybody. We need to be on the same page if we're going to turn this thing around.
"When I say I need help, man, when somebody's open, make the shot. If there's a loose ball, get the loose ball. Even me. If there's a loose ball, I got to get it. But we need to do it together.''
The bottom line, though, is Anthony does need scoring help for the Nuggets to stay alive in the series, and there are several likely places to go. Point guard Chauncey Billups has averaged 17.8 points in the series, down from 19.6 during the regular season, and is being outplayed by counterpart Deron Williams.
Experiencing even more of a severe drop has been Smith, averaging 11.8 points in the series compared to 15.4 during the regular season. Since scoring 20 points in Game 1, Smith has been abysmal, averaging 9.0 points on 9-of-30 shooting.
Center Nene's 13.8 average for the series is identical to his regular-season mark. But, after averaging 18.5 points in the first two games, he's averaged just 9.5 the past two.
"Yeah,'' Smith said when asked about Anthony needing help scoring. "I think I have to have a big game. Nene, Chauncey and everybody has to have a big game. It's just a matter of whose night it's going to be."
If somebody doesn't join Anthony, the Nuggets might find their season over Wednesday.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @christomasson