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Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni compares Carmelo Anthony’s move to bench to Bob McAdoo with Lakers

Mike D'Antoni, Carmelo Anthony, Rockets, Bob McAdoo, Lakers

Houston Rockets forward Carmelo Anthony made his first NBA appearance coming off the bench on Wednesday night during a 131-112 losing effort against the New Orleans Pelicans in the season opener at the Toyota Center. Prior to his nine-point outing, head coach Mike D’Antoni compared Melo’s transition into a bench role to another great perennial scorer.

“I know it’s tough… But [McAdoo] won two championships, so it kind of softens it up a little bit,” said D’Antoni, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.

McAdoo had scored 20 or more points per game through 11 straight seasons (including three straight 30-point seasons early on) before injuries plagued him, forcing him to take a reserve role as the Los Angeles Lakers’ sixth man. During that stretch, he started only once in four years, but netted two championship rings in 1982 and 1985 before ending his career with the Philadelphia 76ers the next season.

Anthony has the chance to do the same if the Rockets can break through, but D’Antoni admitted this move to the bench could wind up not being the long-term scheme he will use for the entire season.

“I know it’s not the ideal situation for him, because he’s a Hall of Famer and all that. I know it’s a big adjustment, but you know what? He’s true to his word,” said D’Antoni. “He said he’d do anything for the team. We think that’s best today. It might not be best later – we don’t know – but having him is something that we didn’t have last year. Obviously, it’s really good.”

Melo shot only 3-of-10 from the field in his 27 minutes of play in a humbling loss to the Pelicans, showing there’s still plenty to fine-tune before the Rockets are a finished product.

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