COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) -- Preseason or not, Carmelo Anthony
wanted to show he's put a difficult offseason behind him.
After a disappointing Olympics and a mishap at a bar, it's hard
to blame him.
Anthony had 19 points before sitting out most of the second
half, and Earl Boykins added 18 points and six assists to help the
Denver Nuggets win their preseason opener 97-91 over the Milwaukee
Bucks on Thursday night.
"Even though it was only a preseason game, I really wanted to
come out and just show people that I still have my confidence,"
Anthony said. "Regardless of what happened this summer, I'm still
the same the player, I still have my confidence and nothing will
ever break that."
Keith Van Horn and Michael Redd had 17 points each, and Desmond
Mason added 16 for the Bucks, who seemed a step slow after playing
in North Dakota the night before.
"We definitely were not as sharp as last night," Milwaukee
coach Terry Porter said. "We couldn't move the ball and we weren't
as crisp when we needed to move tonight."
Not that the fans at World Arena minded. They didn't come to see
the Bucks. They wanted Anthony and he didn't disappoint.
Anthony started off with a with a long jumper, then used five or
six fakes on Van Horn to set up a baseline jumper. He kept going
from there -- a square-up jumper, a no-look pass to Marcus Camby for
a dunk, then a dunk of his own after a no-look pass from Boykins.
Anthony also pinned Maurice Williams' shot against the backboard
and finished off the first half with a 3-point play, a huge grin
spreading across his face as the ball fell through the basket. He
finished the half with 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting, adding five
rebounds and two assists to give the Nuggets a 54-43 lead.
Not bad for a player who earlier this week said he was still
trying to get in shape.
"I thought Carmelo did some very good things out there,"
Nuggets coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "He loves to play, I'm not
worried about him. He'll be ready opening night.
Anthony was superb, but the fans will have to wait the debut of
Denver's other star, Kenyon Martin. The All-Star power forward
stubbed a toe in his hotel room Thursday morning and watched in
"I told him he has to play on Saturday," Anthony said.
Redd kept the Bucks in it in the first half, working his way
through Denver's defense for some tough baskets at the rim. Van
Horn did most of his work in the third quarter, scoring 11 points
to help Milwaukee cut an 11-point deficit to 74-71 with 32 seconds
left in the period.
But the Bucks just didn't have enough energy to stay in it and
the Nuggets pulled away early in the fourth quarter.
"We played last night, so I think guys are a little tired
now," Van Horn said. "We had a long camp and then the
back-to-back was tough. But that is what preseason is about,
getting in shape, getting used to each other and I feel really
confident about this team."