Carmelo Anthony's Mere Presence is Somehow Already Killing the Rockets

Carmelo Anthony: Rockets bench role challenging mentally

Rockets Active Roster: Gerald Green, Michael Carter-Williams, Gary Clark, Carmelo Anthony, Isaiah Hartenstein, James Ennis III, Marquese Chriss, Chris Paul, James Harden, Clint Capela, Zhou Qi,

The Astros enter Game 4 against the Red Sox tonight at a 2-1 deficit, while the Rockets tip off their own game against the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Rockets were seventh in defensive efficiency at 105.6 last season.

As a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder last season, Anthony balked at the notion of coming off the bench and stood by that stance in his exit interview.

Who exactly said small ball was the new wave taking over the National Basketball Association?

Many were surprised by the fact Julius Randle wouldn't start in this game, but he's expected to have a heavy workload off the bench.

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The NBA's reigning Most Valuable Player James Harden flirted with a triple double, finishing with 18 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds, but it wasn't enough as the Rockets failed to match New Orleans' season-opening intensity, especially on defence. Both the Pelicans and Rockets were in the middle of the pack in threes allowed, at 31.2 and 31.5 percent, respectively. He's a 25 percent shooter from deep over his career, and that number has gone down over the years. He still doesn't want to talk about the possibility of a reserve role in Houston, but he seems to have made peace with playing with the second team if it means he might finally get a ring in his 16th season.

"Throughout the playoffs we started clicking more, finding little plays that teams that have been together a while already had that synergy", Paul said. They led 35-29 at the end of the first quarter and 71-64 at halftime. In an offense that's heavy on isolation, it was hard to imagine a player like Anthony who needs the ball in his hands coexisting in a lineup with Houston's established playmakers.

NO. The Pelicans averaged 14.9 turnovers per game last season, compared to 13.8 for the Rockets.

Paul and Harden erased any doubts that they would play well together by working brilliantly in their first season as teammates a year ago.

As for the opponent, it is an early test for the Pelicans. The Toronto Raptors traded away their best player and somehow got better.

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