Billy Donovan explains Carmelo Anthony’s decreased minutes in Game 5
Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Billy Donovan explained his reasoning for sitting Carmelo Anthony as long as he did during a Game 5 win over the Utah Jazz.
While his All-Star teammates Russell Westbrook and Paul George played 44 and 45 minutes, respectively — Anthony played a mere 25, going only 2-of-6 and recording a playoff-low seven points in the outing.
“I think as a coach, you’re coaching the game. That’s what I’m doing is doing my job and responsibility,” said Donovan, according to Erik Horne of The Oklahoman. “That’s why you have assistant coaches. Mo was obviously taking to him, but I needed to keep my focus on what we needed to do in that situation — what their matchups were, who’s on the floor for them, what we’re running offensively, what’s effective for us offensively. So I just focused on what was going on inside the game.”
The gambit paid off for Donovan, as Westbrook and George went on a 32-point run of their own, scoring or assisting in shots during the third quarter, pulling leveled at 78 by the end of the period.
The Thunder reaped the benefits of a diehard fanbase cheering them on and rode the wave to a Game 5 victory, still trailing 3-2 and facing their toughest of tests today, playing on the road and hoping to steal another game to force a Game 7 back on their home court.