DENVER (AP) -- A new wrap for his dislocated finger has done
wonders for Earl Boykins.
Boykins matched his career high with 32 points and Carmelo
Anthony added 18 despite a migraine and foul trouble, helping the
Denver Nuggets keep the Chicago Bulls winless with a 99-81 victory
"His finger is sore and perhaps everyone's finger should be
sore," Nuggets coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "Whatever he did, I think
we'll do it to everybody tomorrow."
Boykins set his career high against Detroit on Nov. 11, shaking
off a dislocated middle finger in the first quarter to become the
smallest player in league history to eclipse 30 points in a game.
The 5-foot-5 guard struggled the next game, going 1-for-11
against Sacramento on Sunday, but started to find his stroke
Wednesday against Toronto after Denver's trainer taped his fingers
together. He kept it going against the Bulls, scoring 15 points in
the first half and adding a pair of 3-pointers in the third quarter
to help the Nuggets start to pull away.
"It still hurts, but it's getting better," said Boykins, who
shot 10-for-15 and was 10-of-10 on free throws. "I feel it, but I
think the way he's wrapped it the past couple games has allowed me
to play with less pain."
The Bulls had an uninspired 13-point loss to Golden State on
Wednesday, but it didn't seem to carry over in the early going.
Taking advantage of Denver's shoddy interior defense, Chicago
hit 10 of 19 shots in the first quarter and shot 48 percent in the
half to trail 52-51.
The Bulls just couldn't keep it going.
Chicago shot a respectable 42 percent, but scored just 11 points
in the fourth quarter and struggled on the defensive end,
particularly in the second half.
Denver made 10 of 16 shots in the third quarter to start pulling
away, and went up 82-70 after Bryon Russell hit a 3-pointer from
the corner at the third-quarter buzzer and added another from the
opposite side early in the fourth.
"This was pretty much the way all our games have been," Bulls
coach Scott Skiles said. "We had some good moments, but we
self-destructed a couple of times."
Now the Bulls (0-7) are just two losses away from matching the
1967-68 team for the worst start in team history.
With the Los Angeles Lakers up next on Sunday and a game the
following night in Phoenix, it's a real possibility. And it could
get even longer; Chicago finishes out the week with road games
against Utah and Cleveland.
"We could play better, but I think sometimes things can change
quickly in a game," said Andres Nocioni, who led the Bulls with 22
points. "We have to change our minds and our mentality and play
hard, not soft."
Anthony kept up his aggressive play of the previous four games,
opening with a jumper from the wing and adding a tomahawk dunk down
the lane midway through the first quarter. He finished with 10
points on 5-of-7 shooting and even showed off his arm, picking up a
football left by Denver's mascot and throwing it to the third deck
in the corner of the arena.
But foul trouble slowed down Anthony in the second quarter. He
hit a 3-pointer shortly after coming back into the game, but picked
up his third foul and played just five minutes in the quarter.
A migraine and more foul trouble slowed Anthony in the second
He managed to hit a jumper to start the third quarter, then
quickly went back to the bench after picking up his fourth foul
fighting for post position with Nocioni. Anthony returned in the
fourth quarter, but managed just three points in 11 minutes because
of dizziness and a blurry left eye.
"I tried to play through it, but it's tough to play through
migraines," said Anthony, who was 8-for-15 and had seven rebounds.
"I took something for it and I think whatever I took made it even
The shot clock on the Nuggets' end of the court went out
late in the first quarter, but was back on for the start of the
second. ... Chicago has lost six straight in Denver. ... The Bulls
have lost 35 straight games on their annual November swing through
the West. Chicago hasn't won out West since Michael Jordan's final
season in Chicago, when they beat Sacramento on Nov. 23, 1997.