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Carmelo Anthony sits entire fourth quarter as Oklahoma City Thunder drop third straight

From NBA media reports

With the Oklahoma City Thunder still needing more wins to clinch a playoff spot, late-game situations continue to be an issue. The Thunder are 22-21 in games that were within five points in the last five minutes after an overtime loss to the Denver Nuggets on Friday.

Carmelo Anthony made one of the Thunder’s buckets in overtime, but has been one of the league’s worst shooters in the clutch this season. Among players who have taken at least 50 shots with the score within five in the last five minutes, only Marc Gasol (25 percent) and Tyreke Evans (29 percent) have shot worse than Anthony (22-for-73, 30 percent).

And before the Thunder got to overtime on Friday, Anthony was off the floor for the entire fourth quarter … in part because he chose not to enter the game with a few minutes left in regulation. ESPN‘s Royce Young has the story:

Anthony, who walked to the scorer’s table with about three minutes left in regulation to check in, elected to sit himself back on the bench after Jerami Grant hit a corner 3 to put the Thunder up six with 2:22 left. Anthony waved his hand at the court after Grant’s 3 dropped and walked back to the bench, telling Donovan to stick with Grant. Though after Will Barton tied the game with 15 seconds left on a spinning layup, Donovan called timeout to draw up a final play, still leaving the 10-time All-Star on the sideline. Russell Westbrook missed a 3-pointer with two seconds left, sending the game to overtime.

“I was sitting for the whole fourth and there was like two and some change on the clock,” Anthony said. “[Grant] hit that 3, so it was like just let him continue to go out there and just play it out and see what happens. But then we wind up going to overtime.”

Anthony subbed back in to start the overtime period, quickly hitting a pick-and-pop 3 with 2:40 left to put OKC back up two. Anthony finished with 23 points on 9-of-21 shooting (5-of-10 from 3) plus 9 rebounds, as the Thunder dropped a third straight game, falling to sixth in the Western Conference.

“It was kind of a hard thing, I wanted to put Melo back in the game, but I think that unit was playing so well at that particular time, we were on a pretty good run, we were playing good, Jerami made a 3 when I wanted to put Carmelo back in,” Donovan said. “Carmelo’s always been a team guy, I think he felt like ‘OK, Jerami’s playing well, let him go, let him play.'”