Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 11/19

Game 1: Friday, November 19th
Game 2: Tuesday, January 25th

Bulls 81

(0-7, 0-4 away)

Nuggets 99

(4-5, 4-2 home)

    Coverage: CSNC

    7:00 PM ET, November 19, 2004

    Pepsi Center, Denver, CO

    1 2 3 4 T
    CHI 26 25 19 1181
    DEN 27 25 27 2099

    Top Performers

    Chi: A. Nocioni 22 Pts, 6 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Den: E. Boykins 32 Pts, 3 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl

    Denver wins three of last four

    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 Friday night.

    "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."

    Good idea.

    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."

    Kenyon Martin had another active night with 13 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and five steals, and Andre Miller added 16 points for Denver, which has won three of four since a 1-4 start.

    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 half.

    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 worse."

    Game notes

    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.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 81 99
    FGM-FGA 32-76 (.421) 34-72 (.472)
    3PM-3PA 3-14 (.214) 5-15 (.333)
    FTM-FTA 14-19 (.737) 26-31 (.839)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 6-39 4-38
    Assists 23 19
    Turnovers 22 16
    Steals 5 10
    Blocks 2 5
    Fast Break Points 4 5
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 28 (3/0) 25 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Andres Nocioni Nocioni
    Points: 22
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1
    Earl Boykins Boykins
    Points: 32
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0