While the chemistry in Oklahoma City is seemingly a work in progress, Anthony’s role seems to be ever-changing.
For a player brought in for his scoring ability, Monday night was not a good example of a team utilizing a proven scorer.
During the Thunder’s win over the Denver Nuggets, Anthony took 6 shots, his lowest total since 2013, and scored 4 points, the fewest he has scored in a game since 2012.
The shots were clearly unbalanced with Russell Westbrook hoisting up 28 shots and Paul George launching 13 of his own.
Anthony remained calm despite the lack of shots.
“I’m good with that, if we win. I’m cool with that, man,” Anthony said (h/t ESPN).
“[Russell Westbrook] had it going, and any time he has it going, we just gotta space it out, play off of him, let him work. The ball will find us. As far as the shots go, there’s going to be nights like that. I think that’s something we have to accept. It’s different, but we have to accept that. But tonight, he had it going, and we followed his lead.”
“He led us tonight,” Anthony said. “He led us to this victory. Especially offensively. Put the team on his back offensively.”
Anthony has stressed “sacrifice” as he has shifted from primary scoring option to a complimentary role with his new team.
“A lot of times, my man is not leaving me,” Anthony said.
“Opposing teams, coaches’ defensive schemes is telling them to always keep a body on me. … As a result of that, me being a decoy opens it up for a lot of people.”
Anthony also discussed the long stretches he goes, at times, without taking a shot in the game.
“Those are the most challenging ones,” Anthony said of getting a shot when he hasn’t taken one in a while. “I think in order for us to be successful, you have to be ready for those moments. Because just don’t know when those opportunities are going to come. You have to mentally stay in the game, and you have to prepare yourself for when those times come.”
“If any one of us has the hot hand, they gotta keep going,” George said. “Russ definitely had the hot hand and we were fine, we were fine with him taking the game over. He had the hot hand, and we were confident in the shots, and he was getting great looks. You can’t really be mad about the looks he got. Wide-open looks and layups. We’re livin’ and we’re on his back with that.”
“The good thing about it is, there’s hot hands over here and there’s guys that can put the ball in the hole,” George said. “That’s a difference in my career of not having that pressure.”
“The ball has gotta move, and we have to generate better shots,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “We can’t iso our way to being a great team offensively.”