- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Baltimore’s Carmelo Anthony is the face of the Denver Nuggets, but in the early part of this season their best player is Marcus Camby.

The reigning Western Conference Player of the Week, Camby had a crucial block of a Gilbert Arenas’ 3-pointer last night at MCI Center to preserve Denver’s 108-105 victory over the Washington Wizards (5-5) in front of 15,980.

The loss extended the Wizards’ losing streak to four games. Last season the Wizards didn’t drop four straight until Feb. 4 [-] 45 games into the season. And only once last season did they lose five consecutive games, something they will try to avoid tonight in Orlando, where they have lost 21 of their last 24.

“Our focus tonight was to stop the bleeding and we weren’t able to do that,” said Wizards forward Antawn Jamison, who finished with 26 points and 12 rebounds. “We played hard and we found a way to make a game out of it to the end. We just came out on the unfortunate side of it. We just have put this behind us and be ready for Orlando tomorrow.”

Camby made his presence felt all night long against the Wizards, checking out with the type of impressive line he has made almost habitual lately: 24 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks.

Of his five blocks, his rejection of Arenas’ attempted 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds left was by far the biggest.

After a timeout, Arenas, who rebounded from back-to-back off games with a 36-point, 10-rebound effort, found himself matched up with Camby, who jumped out beyond him while going for the ball. Arenas stepped closer and thought he had a good look at the basket.

But the 6-foot-11 Camby recovered in time to block the shot from behind and seal the Wizards’ fate.

“I tried to lead with it to get away from his length, but he still blocked the shot,” Arenas said.

Said Nuggets coach George Karl of Camby: “He has a lot of pride and there is no big man playing better basketball than him today. He had a huge game for us tonight.”

Anthony wasn’t bad on this night, either. With more than 400 friends and family making the ride down I-95 from Baltimore, Anthony attacked the rim relentlessly for 28 points. Although he made just five of 17 shots, Anthony was deadly from the free-throw line, connecting on 18 of 22.

This latest loss was as much about how bad some of the Wizards played in contrast to how well some of the Nuggets — mainly diminutive guard Earl Boykins [-] played.

The Wizards continue to look for any signs of life from Jared Jeffries, who finished with just three points and three rebounds. He and Brendan Haywood (four points, two boards) combined to give the Wizards numbers similar to the ones that got Kwame Brown run out of town during the summer.

And in an effort to shake up his team, Wizards coach Eddie Jordan went with Jarvis Hayes (15 points) in the starting lineup at shooting guard in place of Antonio Daniels.

Daniels struggled mightily all night, missing all 10 of his field goal attempts to finish with one point.

“I’ll shoulder the blame,” Daniels said of his performance. “But that’s the good thing about the NBA. You get a chance to play again tomorrow night.”

Daniels said he has yet to feel comfortable in any game this season.

“There hasn’t been one game where offensively I’ve felt good,” Daniels said. ” I mean, 0-for-10. I can’t explain that.”

Boykins, at 5-5 the league’s smallest player, wasn’t looking ahead to his next appearance. Instead, he made the most out of the 24 minutes he played last night, finishing with 20 points, seven assists and four rebounds.

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