The Arizona Republic
The Suns play as if they were strangers to each other, which they are, in loss to Bucks.
By BOB YOUNG
The Arizona Republic
MILWAUKEE – The Phoenix Suns loaded a whole different team onto their charter flight back home than the one that boarded a week ago for a four-game Eastern Conference road trip.
Antonio McDyess, Howard Eisley and Maciej Lampe, who were traded by the Knicks to the Suns on Monday, barely had time to introduce themselves before the Suns ended a winless trip with a 95-87 loss to the Bucks last night at the Bradley Center.
McDyess played 21 minutes and scored four points with three rebounds and two assists.
Eisley played 17 minutes and made 1 of 9 shots. Lampe, the 18-year-old center from Poland, didn’t play.
“It’s a whole different team, but this is what we’ve got right here, and we’ve got to find some way to get a winning streak going,” said guard Joe Johnson, who scored a season-high 25 points in the loss.
That’s something the Suns have never done this season. They’ve been through five trades involving 17 players, plus a coaching change.
There are only seven players on the roster who were with the team last year, and two are on the injured list.
But help is on the way. Rookie forward Zarko Cabarkapa will undergo X-rays today on his injured right wrist, and if it checks out well, he will be activated for tomorrow night’s game against Sacramento.
And Amare Stoudemire, out with a grade-three ankle sprain, could be activated by Tuesday night, when Denver visits.
“I’m still pretty optimistic,” Suns coach Mike D’Antoni said. “I liked what both (new players) did. Once Dice gets his legs back and we get into some offense where we can take advantage of him, he’ll be nice to go into in the post.
“And Howard can run a team. He didn’t know what we were running out there, and he can shoot. He just didn’t know where his shots were coming from. I still think we can be pretty good. I’m still excited.”
The Suns weathered a 13-0 Milwaukee run in the third quarter and trailed by a point with 8:13 to play after Johnson’s step-back jumper. But the Bucks got back-to-back three-point plays from Toni Kukoc and Desmond Mason and scored 12 unanswered points to blow it open.
Kobe booed in loss at Denver
DENVER – Carmelo Anthony and Denver’s fans made sure Kobe Bryant didn’t enjoy his return to Colorado.
Anthony had 20 points and helped harass Bryant into a poor shooting night, leading the Nuggets to a 113-91 rout of the Los Angeles Lakers in Bryant’s first game in Colorado since he was accused of sexual assault last summer.
Bryant was booed from the start and never found a rhythm offensively, finishing with 27 points on 8-of-23 shooting with five turnovers.
“I’ve been booed before,” Bryant said afterward. “I don’t listen to that. I just go out there and play basketball.”
A Nuggets-record crowd of 19,739 started booing Bryant during the introductions and continued every time he touched the ball. A chant of “Guilty! Guilty!” rang out midway through the third quarter, and several fans made sexual references throughout the game.
Bryant kept calm in the first half, but his frustration boiled over in the third quarter when he grabbed Anthony under the basket and both players were called for technical fouls. Bryant regained his composure quickly, patting Anthony on the back of the head and asking if he was all right after the whistle.
“Every shot he took, you could tell he really wanted this game,” said Anthony, who added eight rebounds and six assists.
Bryant didn’t get much help with Shaquille O’Neal and Karl Malone sidelined with injuries.
Last night’s other games
Mavericks 105, Warriors 99: Dirk Nowitzki scored eight of his 23 points in the final 3:56, including a layup that put host Dallas ahead for good. Golden State’s Nick Van Exel had 15 points and nine assists against his former team.
SuperSonics 104, Kings 93: Ray Allen scored 10 of his 22 points in the second quarter, and Vladimir Radmanovic scored 21 as host Seattle snapped Sacramento’s four-game winning streak. Peja Stojakovic and ex-Arizona Wildcat Mike Bibby each scored 19 to lead the Kings.
76ers 100, Clippers 80: Allen Iverson scored 20 points, and host Philadelphia reached 100 points for the first time in nearly two months. Elton Brand’s 26 points and 12 rebounds led Los Angeles.
Celtics 101, Magic 93: Paul Pierce had 19 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for host Boston. Tracy McGrady had 28 points in Orlando’s sixth straight loss.
Raptors 75, Cavaliers 69: Vince Carter scored 11 of his 14 points in the final eight minutes, including a clinching windmill dunk with 21 seconds left. Carter was 1 for 12 from the field and hadn’t scored since the first quarter before putting host Toronto ahead on a 3-pointer with 7:34 left. LeBron James had 21 points and five assists for Cleveland but shot 2 for 8 in the fourth quarter.
Pistons 85, Rockets 66: Richard Hamilton scored 16 points, and host Detroit held Houston to its lowest point total while extending its NBA record of holding teams under 100 points to 38 straight games.
Heat 102, Bulls 95: Eddie Jones scored 27 points, and Lamar Odom added 25 as host Miami, coming off its lowest-scoring game of the season, held off Chicago. The Heat, who lost 87-65 to Indiana on Monday, won for the sixth time in nine games. Bulls rookie Ronald Dupree was impressive in his NBA debut, scoring a team-high 18 points.
Hornets 97, Wizards 87: Baron Davis had 28 points and 10 assists, and David Wesley broke out of a slump with 20 points. Wesley, who scored a total of 13 points and shot only 21 percent in his previous two games, was 7 of 13, including three 3-pointers.
Note: Memphis’ game at Utah was postponed because snow and ice kept the Grizzlies from leaving Portland, Ore. No makeup date was set yet.
Contributing: The Associated Press
PHOTO CAPTION: The Associated Press
Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony (right) looks to pass against Lakers forward Kobe Bryant in the third quarter of the Nuggets’ 113-91 victory.