- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 11, 2003

What was that about the size of the fight in the dog being more important than the size of the dog in the fight?
Apparently 5-foot-5 Earl Boykins took that to heart last night against the Washington Wizards. Boykins was on the court in the closing minutes of the Warriors' 104-99 victory and, more importantly, lofted the game-winner over Larry Hughes, who is a full foot taller.
Boykins, whose running 11-footer with 15.7 seconds left ended the Wizards' five-game winning streak, finished with 16 points and four assists. In the fourth quarter, when he was guarded closely by Hughes, Boykins was 4-for-5 from the floor and scored nine points.
On his decisive shot, Boykins heard Wizards coach Doug Collins tell Hughes to back off him. Boykins knew the Wizards had made a fatal mistake.
"I knew Hughes was on his heels, and as soon as he began to back up I ran at him full speed, used my quickness and made it happen," Boykins said.
None of this surprised his teammates, because they have seen the little guy do some special things this season. He had a career-high 23 points against Dallas and led the Warriors back from 21 points down against Denver by scoring 18 points and collecting six steals in the final 18 minutes.
"He's the smallest guy in the league, but he has one of the biggest hearts," said Antawn Jamison, who scored 16 points for the Warriors. "But I've been around him for a while now. I'm not surprised by what he does. What he did tonight is what he's been doing."
Hughes, who finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists in his first game against his former team, downplayed Boykins' size.
"He's been short all of his life," Hughes said. "He knows how to handle himself."
The loss dropped the Wizards' record to 18-18 and prevented them from moving two games above .500 for the first time this season. Though much of this was because of Boykins, the other part of the story was Golden State's domination inside.
Led by Troy Murphy's career-high 17 rebounds, the Warriors (15-20) outrebounded Washington 48-34. They scored 56 points in the paint compared to Washington's 44. Twenty-three of their rebounds were offensive.
"The next time we play this team, we'll know how to play them," said Michael Jordan, who finished with 14 points and five assists. "The next time we'll know what we're dealing with. We controlled the tempo; we just couldn't rebound the ball."
That helps explain why the Wizards lost a game in which they made 50 percent of their shots (40 of 80) compared to the Warriors' 44.1 (41 of 93). Jerry Stackhouse led the Wizards with 26 points on 9-for-17 shooting from the floor.
The Warriors got an exceedingly balanced effort from their young players. Guard Gilbert Arenas finished with 22 points and five rebounds, Eric Dampier had 16 points and six rebounds and Murphy had 15 points.
"It wasn't that we played a bad game we were not flat," Wizards coach Doug Collins said. "They just did a great job of rebounding the ball. They came in, and they beat us."
Collins doesn't let much slip under the radar. Like the Warriors, he was not surprised by what Boykins accomplished.
"I've watched him on tape, and he has been doing that to everyone," Collins said. "He plays with so much heart. You look at him, and you wonder how he's in the NBA. Than you see how he goes out and answers that question. He's a competitor."
For three quarters, neither the Wizards nor the Warriors established any type of superiority, and not once did either team lead by more than six points.
But as the fourth quarter got under way, the Warriors' rebounding began to take its toll. Up 86-85, the Warriors surged to a 91-85 lead on back-to-back baskets (one a 3-pointer) by Boykins.
The Wizards drew within 100-99 on Christian Laettner's tip in with a little more than two minutes to play. Following a traveling violation by the Warriors, the Wizards took over with 1:32 left in the game but failed to convert. However, they got the ball back after an air ball by Golden State's Bob Sura. But Charles Oakley was called for an offensive foul with 34 seconds to play.
Boykins wasted no time getting the ball near the free throw line, penetrating a little closer to the basket and then lofting the jumper that gave the Warriors a 102-99 advantage and sent most of the 20,172 spectators at sold-out MCI Center into the night disappointed.
On the Wizards' next possession, Jordan missed a layup in traffic. Arenas was fouled in the scrum and put the game away with a pair of free throws.

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