It’s the moment Carmelo Anthony has been waiting for. With star shooting guard James Harden and small forward James Ennis out with injuries, Anthony will start for the Houston Rockets Friday night at home against the Los Angeles Clippers.

For the first time in his career, Anthony came off the bench on opening night and remained in that role for the first four games. The veteran scorer is averaging 11.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.0 assists while shooting 40.0 percent from the field, 26.1 percent from beyond the arc and 62.5 percent from the free-throw line.

Carmelo Anthony will join Chris Paul, Eric Gordon, P.J. Tucker and Clint Capela in the Rockets’ starting lineup.

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Anthony, 34, signed a one-year, $2.4 million deal with the Rockets in August. It’s still early in the season, but Melo looks like the same player he has been for the last few years. He’s taking contested shots, playing putrid defense and not hitting the 3-ball at a high clip.

In his lone season with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2017-18, Anthony averaged a career-low 16.2 points per game and shot only 40.4 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from beyond the arc. Many thought Anthony would be effective playing alongside two elite playmakers in Paul and Harden. That hasn’t been the case yet.

The Rockets are 1-3 on the season. They got blown out by the New Orleans Pelicans on opening night, defeated the Los Angeles Lakers, then lost to the Clippers and Utah Jazz.