Carmelo Anthony returned to D.C. Friday and less than 40 miles away from his hometown of Baltimore.
With him, his Portland Trail Blazers traveled east on a five-game road trip.
The 16-year veteran scored 16 points along with six rebounds to help the Trail Blazers (15-21) end a five-game skid with a 122–103 victory over the Washington Wizards before nearly 18,000 at Capital One Arena in northwest D.C.
Anthony, who received cheers the entire game, also had a put-back dunk off a missed jumper in the middle of the fourth quarter.
“To come in and get in a win on the road, especially how we lost in New York a couple of days ago to bounce back the way we did tonight, puts us on the right path,” he said. “Baltimore is 35, 40 minutes right up the road. Friends, family [and] the love here for people here in D.C. This will always be a special place to come back to.”
Unlike the Wizards (10-24), which had eight inactive players that included All-Star Bradley Beal, Anthony had help.
Perennial All-Star Damian Lillard led the Trail Blazers with 35 points on 10-of-20 shooting from the floor. His backcourt mate, CJ McCollum, chipped in another 24 points that included 11 in the third quarter.
Center Hassan Whiteside recorded a double-double with 23 points and 21 rebounds along with five blocks.
“It’s a long season. You’re going to have ups and downs. We had a losing streak going and not playing our best basketball,” Lillard said. “It was good to get a practice in yesterday and come out here and get a win on the road.”
The Wizards seemed snakebitten almost from the opening tip. Less than two minutes into the game, guard Isaiah Thomas, trapped by Anthony and Lillard near the Washington bench, made contact with referee Marat Kogut, who stumbled out of bounds. Kogut immediately waved for Thomas’ ejection from the game.
After Kogut and two other officials reviewed the technical foul call, it was upheld and Thomas was gone.
Jordan McRae led the Wizards with a season-high 35 points on 12-for-26 shooting off the bench.
Two other Wizards reserves led the team in scoring: Garrison Mathews with 18 points and Ish Smith with 26 and five assists.
Washington’s starters scored a total of 27 points. Second-year forward Troy Brown Jr. scored 10 points, but on only 3-for-10 shooting. Gary Payton II, who signed with Washington last week, scored four points along with four fouls in nearly 35 minutes of action.
The Wizards have lost two straight and 11 of their past 15 contests.
Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said the loss wasn’t due to effort.
“I thought our guys really did a great job of competing. We just ran out of gas [and] ran out of scorers,” he said. “We had a couple of guys that had bad nights. This loss has nothing to do with effort. We didn’t get a couple of things to go our way.”
Brooks said Beal could return to the lineup Saturday on a rare home back-to-back against the Denver Nuggets.
It’s still unclear when rookie Rui Hachimura will return. He missed his ninth game due to a groin injury after teammate Isaac Bonga accidentally kicked him between the legs in a Dec. 16 game.