LOS ANGELES — There have been plenty of chants at Lakers games over the years.
Kobe Bryant surely had the most of anybody, regularly festooned with the rhythmic “Ko-be, Ko-be,” or more simplistic “M-V-P, M-V-P.”
Luke Walton (“Luuuuuke”) and Michael Cooper (“Coooop”) had their share too, though there was a new one Monday.
A loud “Me-lo, Me-lo” version drifted down from the Staples Center faithful Monday as Carmelo Anthony drained three-pointer after three-pointer in the Lakers’ 126-123 overtime victory over the Charlotte Hornets.
It wasn’t an easy win — are there any these days? — but the Lakers fended off the Hornets as Anthony scored 29 points off the bench.
“He’s a shooter, he’s a scorer,” teammate Anthony Davis said. “It’s not a fluke. When he’s open, we try to find him. Any time he shoots the ball, we think it’s going in.”
Anthony, 37, is the NBA’s second-oldest player. It hasn’t look like it this season. It certainly didn’t Monday.
He made seven of 10 three-point shots and continued to be especially lethal at Staples Center, where he’s now 64% behind the arc. Road games haven’t been nearly as kind — he’s made one of 16 from deep, a surprisingly poor 6%.
“’Melo should only play at home,” Davis joked in an interview with Spectrum SportsNet.
Davis was no slouch, either.
He scored 32 points and added 12 rebounds and five blocked shots. He also vomited after the third quarter, the remnants of an intestinal flu still circulating his body. Davis played only nine minutes two days earlier before leaving because of the illness in a loss to Portland.
“He’s dealing with a lot of stuff right now,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “He’s toughing it out. We don’t win this game tonight without him having that mindset.”
One of Davis’ few miscues was a badly missed three-point attempt with 1.3 seconds left in the fourth quarter and the score tied at 115-115. It was on to overtime after Hornets forward Miles Bridges missed a three-point heave at the buzzer.
The Lakers’ oft-criticized defense stood tall in the final seconds of overtime and protected a three-point edge.
Davis blocked Terry Rozier’s three-point attempt from the corner with 6.2 seconds to play and then Russell Westbrook played solid defense after LaMelo Ball ended up with the ball at the top of the three-point line. Ball couldn’t get off a good shot and had to pass the ball to Cody Martin in the corner. Martin hoisted an off-balance three-point attempt and the game ended.
LeBron James missed his fifth game this season, sitting out because of an abdominal strain.
It seemed like luck was on the Lakers’ side when Malik Monk drilled a halfcourt shot at the end of the third quarter for a 94-87 lead. The Lakers needed every point, losing a 14-point edge with 9:02 to play in the fourth quarter.
Rozier had 29 points and Ball had 25 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists for Charlotte (5-7).
But the story Monday was ‘Melo.
“Just catching the ball and shooting. It’s just something I’ve always worked on,” Anthony said. “You guys are just seeing it more often now.”