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Nuggets' Boykins Upstages Rookies

November 06, 2003|From Associated Press

CLEVELAND — The kid from the local high school stole the show -- and LeBron James could only watch.

Tiny Earl Boykins, who grew up in Cleveland, scored all 18 of his points in the second half as the Denver Nuggets ruined James' hyped home debut Wednesday night, 93-89, over the winless Cavaliers.

Oh, and the James versus Carmelo Anthony rivalry? Let's just say it needs some work.

"I'm glad it's over," said Anthony, who led Syracuse to an NCAA title as a freshman and will next meet James on Dec. 3 in Denver. "I ain't seen this much media since the national championship game."

Anthony outscored James, 14-7, in the eagerly awaited matchup between the NBA's two star rookies. But neither was able to get into the flow and disappointed a sellout crowd of 20,562, which kept waiting for one of them to take over.

Instead, it was the 5-foot-5 Boykins who made all the big shots and plays. Boykins, who has twice played for the Cavaliers, scored 10 points in the third quarter to help the Nuggets take control.

James and the Cavaliers are still looking for win No. 1, and the top overall draft pick is now 0-4 as a pro and 0-3 in his career against his close friend Anthony. The two faced each other twice while in high school.

"I don't want to say I'm disappointed," James said. "We need to get a win -- simple as that."

James had the better stat sheet: 11 rebounds and seven assists to Anthony's six and two.

But James couldn't get his game going and went scoreless in the second half, and finished only three for 11 from the field.

"I knew there was going to be some bumps and bruises," James said. "Being the No. 1 pick, I went to the sorriest team from the year before. By December and January, we'll be a good team."

Anthony was six for 17.

"I won," Anthony said. "So I'm happy with my performance."

More than 300 credentials were issued to see the first pro matchup between James and Anthony, the two most publicized rookies to enter the league at the same time since Larry Bird and Magic Johnson in 1979.

Before the game, the Goodyear blimp -- from James' hometown of Akron -- hovered overhead as the normally quiet streets outside Gund Arena buzzed with traffic, fans and scalpers seeking $300 for a lower level seat to James' home opener.

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