Carmelo: 'It's challenging mentally' moving to bench role
Bill Baptist / National Basketball Association / Getty

Carmelo Anthony's NBA debut as a reserve on Wednesday night at the Toyota Center was one to forget.

While not someone who makes excuses for a poor performance, the 10-time All-Star admitted afterwards that transitioning from a starting role throughout his career to coming off the bench with the Houston Rockets won't be easy.

"It's challenging mentally more so than anything, having to prepare for the game differently," said Anthony following Houston's blowout 131-112 loss to the visiting New Orleans Pelicans, according to ESPN's Tim MacMahon. "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."

Anthony played 27 minutes against New Orleans, registering nine points on 3-of-10 shooting, four rebounds, a rejection, and a pair of turnovers. The Rockets were outscored by 20 points with him on the floor.

It was the first time the 34-year-old has been held to single digits during a season opener. Anthony also scored fewer than 10 points in 11 of his 78 appearances last season with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

"I know it's not the ideal situation for him, because he's a Hall of Famer and all that," head coach Mike D'Antoni said before the loss. "I know it's a big adjustment, but you know what? He's true to his word. 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.

"I know it's tough. We appreciate him doing it and trying to help us win a championship."

The Rockets are back in action on Saturday when they visit Staples Center to battle LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.

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Carmelo: 'It's challenging mentally' moving to bench role
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