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Carmelo Anthony struggles to find rhythm, scores nine points in 27 minutes

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The home crowd didn't have too many other opportunities to cheer on the Rockets, as the New Orleans Pelicans rolled to a 131-112 rout Wednesday night in one of Houston's worst defensive performances in recent memory.

It was the most points the Rockets had given up in a regulation game during coach Mike D'Antoni's tenure, as Houston last allowed an opponent to score that many points in 48 minutes in a Jan. 17, 2015 loss to the Golden State Warriors, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The margin of defeat was more lopsided than any Houston loss last season, when the Rockets had the NBA's best record at 65-17.

The Rockets ranked sixth in the NBA in defensive efficiency last season, but Houston lost stoppers Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute in free agency and associate head coach and defensive guru Jeff Bzdelik to retirement the week before training camp started.nfl jerseys cheap nike

"We know that we are one of the top offensive teams, but we want to mirror that with our defense," Anthony said. "Tonight wasn't an indication of that, but we'll get better. There were some small things that didn't go our way or we didn't do tonight. We didn't communicate enough on the defensive end. We wasn't talking. We wasn't a unit out there defensively tonight. That's something we can learn from."1

Anthony, who had an underwhelming offensive performance with nine points on 3-of-10 shooting, said there would be a "learning curve" as he adjusts to a bench role after starting the first 1,054 games of his career. Only Patrick Ewing (1,118 games) had more consecutive starts to begin an NBA career since 1970-71, when starters were first tracked, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

The early returns were encouraging for Anthony, whose first field goal attempt was an off-dribble jumper just inside the 3-point arc, which is typically the kind of shot that D'Antoni discourages. Anthony made a 3 in transition off an assist from James Harden on the next possession. He got another transition bucket in the first minute of the second quarter, dunking off a feed from Chris Paul after hustling down the court and getting position on his defender.nike nfl jerseys for cheap

But Anthony, who had never before been held to single digits in a season opener, missed his final six shots. He said his new role as a reserve isn't an excuse for not getting in a rhythm, but Anthony acknowledged that it's a formidable transition.

"It's challenging mentally more so than anything, having to prepare for the game differently," Anthony said. "Other than that, it's a challenge all the way around. It's just a matter of how I'm going to react to that challenge and accepting that challenge, which I am, which I will do.

"For me, at this point, it's more about what I have to do for the sake of the team, instead of trying to just go out there and do whatever or trying to have a specific role. Every night will be different; but for the most part, it is a challenge, but it's something that I'll get used to quick."

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