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Thunder’s Paul George says reason why Rockets aren’t succeeding not because of Carmelo Anthony

Paul George, Thunder, Carmelo Anthony, Rockets

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George stood up for former teammate Carmelo Anthony, dispelling the narrative of a cancer-like effect of his inclusion on the Houston Rockets’ roster after a subpar 5-7 start to the season.

“Honestly, the reason the Rockets aren’t succeeding is not because of Melo,” said George on Monday morning. “It has nothing to do with Melo and for that to be the notion or be the headline is very inaccurate.

“The fact of the matter is, they’re just not playing great basketball right now as a group. They have great talent, great players, but it has nothing to do with Melo. Melo is one of the best scorers, the best players, a Hall of Famer — it’s more of a team effort the reason why they’re not succeeding.”

George is only the last of an arsenal of NBA veterans, former teammates and analysts who have jumped in Anthony’s defense, claiming he is not the sole problem for the Rockets’ poor start to the 2018-19 season. Despite a subpar 13.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game in 10 games into his season, Anthony can hardly be singled out for all of the Rockets’ defensive woes and issues scoring the ball efficiently.

His 29.4 minutes per game rank only sixth on the team, and the backcourt All-Star duo of James Harden and Chris Paul are also shooting in the low 40s to start the season — both players with more shot attempts than Anthony.

Houston reportedly intends to waive Melo to make more room for the signing of two-way forward Gary Clark, who fits Mike D’Antoni’s guard-centric system better than Anthony and requires a lot less of the ball to become an able contributor.

The 34-year-old Carmelo Anthony has somehow left his former teammates with a good image of himself, as many have jumped to his defense despite their lack of success playing together.