Nuggets F Carmelo Anthony played down Coach George Karl's decision to bench him for a big part of the game against the Suns on Sunday.
Anthony sat out the final 17 minutes 45 seconds of Denver's 106-101 loss as Phoenix snapped the Nuggets' eight-game winning streak.
"I watched the film just now and still couldn't pinpoint it," Anthony said yesterday after a brief practice. "It's not a big deal. Just because this happened last night doesn't mean that something has been going on between me and Coach Karl."
Karl said Anthony's subpar performance didn't figure into his decision.
"For me, at the five-minute mark of the third quarter, I didn't know how to win a game," Karl said. "Then, when I got a team out there that showed me they could win a game, I decided to stay with them. It was probably more their good play than Carmelo's average play that caused me to stay with the crew that was on the court."
Anthony scored nine points on 2-for-10 shooting and was benched after missing a shot and then watching Phoenix convert a layup.
Karl said the situation came down to a young player learning to earn his minutes and his opportunity in the game.
"Unfortunately we give a lot of opportunity to some young players, but a good team doesn't," Karl said. "A good team plays the game at a high standard and when you're not playing at that standard and someone else is, you go with someone else."
-- From News Services