Carmelo Anthony better, but Portland can't compete with monster Giannis Antetokounmpo triple-double

Carmelo Anthony’s second game with the Portland Trail Blazers was better than his first.

But it wasn’t enough for the shorthanded Trail Blazers to compete with a massive triple-double from Giannis Antetokounmpo in a 137-129 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday.

Antetokounmpo struggled from the field but filled up the box score with 24 points, 19 rebounds and a career-high 15 assists. That he hit just 9-of-27 shots from the field mattered little as he contributed elsewhere.

Eric Bledsoe continued to thrive in Khris Middleton’s absence, posting 30 points, six assists and four rebounds in the win.

Carmelo Anthony improves on rusty Portland debut

Anthony, coming off a rusty debut against the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday that saw him post a minus-20 in the plus/minus column, was notably better against the Bucks.

Giannis Antetokounmpo posted a career-high in assists with a triple-double against Portland. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

He scored 18 points along with seven rebounds and four assists while hitting 3-of-5 3-point attempts. He also saw a vast improvement in the plus/minus column with a minus-1.

It was the kind of effort that could help the Blazers if they weren’t looking to Anthony as a primary option. But with Damian Lillard and Hassan Whiteside sitting with short-term injuries, Portland did well to keep the game close in the fourth quarter.

C.J. McCollum led the effort for Portland with 37 points, 10 assists and six rebounds.

Liilard’s absence leaves lingering questions

Anthony’s game will be scrutinized every time he takes the floor.

But until he’s provided the chance to fill his role as a role player alongside Lillard — who’s sat both of Anthony’s games with back spasms — it will be difficult to gauge his role in Portland.

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