Carmelo Anthony was not mad about being benched during the fourth quarter of Wednesday's game against the Nets, head coach Jeff Hornacek said Saturday.
"He was happy for the guys. The guys were playing well," Hornacek said, according to ESPN New York's Ian Begley.
The Knicks rallied in the fourth quarter, largely due to the efforts of the bench players.
"I didn't think about it," Anthony said about spending the fourth quarter on the bench, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. "I was just in the moment, going with the flow. By the time I looked up -- I looked up one time it was like five minutes, 'Ain't no way I'm going back in there.' These guys had it rolling. There wasn't no need for us [starters] to go back in there and break up what they had going on."
Anthony, who played 27 minutes, scored 15 points and added three rebounds and one steal while committing three turnovers.
In addition to Anthony, Joakim Noah and Courtney Lee also sat in the fourth quarter.
"Obviously, with how many minutes we've had, this is the third game in four nights and one was a four-overtime game, and traveling to three," head coach Jeff Hornacek said about sitting some of his starters. "[Anthony] just looked like he was a little bit tired."
One of the beneficiaries in the fourth quarter was Sasha Vujacic, who scored a season-high 12 points.
Aside from their wavering defensive effort, the Knicks' inability to maintain an attack from start to finish has been a cause for concern this season. When the first unit starts off strongly, sometimes the team's lack of depth can be an issue because the reserves fail to play with the same level of energy.
This time around, the second unit instead provided a huge lift. When New York trails, Hornacek has proven he isn't afraid to shake things up. That's what he did in the fourth, as Vujacic and others played key roles in a big comeback. As Vujacic and Co. found a rhythm not exhibited earlier by Anthony and other starters, there was no reason to risk disrupting things.
As the coach noted, the team has had a somewhat tiring leg of their schedule this past week. The reason depth is so important is because the second unit should be able to deliver when called upon in situations like this. Thus, there's no reason to worry about Anthony. He's been playing at a very high level amid all the trade speculation.