It is impossible to overstate how good Carmelo Anthony has been for the Lakers, who haven't had many things to feel good about in the early part of this season. Entering Monday, Anthony was averaging 16.6 points on a blistering 49 percent from 3.
Against the Hornets, those numbers went even higher.
In the Lakers' 126-123 overtime victory, Anthony scored 29 points on 9-of-13 shooting, including 7 of 10 from 3. He is now shooting 52 percent from 3, including 64 percent at home. And we're not talking about low volume.
Anthony is now tied with CJ McCollum for the third-most made 3-pointers (39) in the league. Only Buddy Hield and Stephen Curry have made more. Over his last six games, Anthony is averaging just under 21 points while shooting 55 percent from the field and 58 percent from 3.
Signed as a peripheral piece, Anthony has quickly become a lifesaver for L.A. with LeBron James sidelined for an indefinite amount of time with an abdominal strain. Anthony has embraced his bench role and given the Lakers a monster scoring and floor-stretching presence for their preferred lineup with Anthony Davis at center.
On Monday, the Lakers' bench won the game. Outside of Davis, who finished with 32 points and 12 rebounds, the other four Lakers starters shot 38 percent from the field. Russell Westbrook, a minus-17 for the game, was 5 for 15 with seven turnovers.
Anthony, meanwhile, was a plus-13, one of four Lakers bench players to post a double-digit positive point differential against the Hornets. That's what it's going to take for the Lakers to stay afloat in James' absence: A total group effort with a second scorer stepping up to help Davis. At this point, Anthony is a far more reliable option for that role than Westbrook.