DENVER, Dec. 31 (Ticker) -- Michael Cooper forever will remember New Year's Eve 2004 as the night he earned his first NBA coaching win.

Carmelo Anthony scored eight of his 24 points in the fourth quarter and the Denver Nuggets rallied to make Cooper's coaching debut a successful one with a 97-92 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.

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Cooper was named interim coach Tuesday, when the Nuggets fired Jeff Bzdelik in the midst of a six-game losing streak. In his first game at the helm, he directed a fourth-quarter run to end the calendar year on a winning note.

"What a game," Cooper said. "I have been preaching defense all week, and the game came down to the defense. I am really proud of these guys."

Anthony, who returned to the lineup after missing the past five games due to a left ankle sprain, hit two 3-pointers during a 10-0 surge, the second to tie the game, 79-79, with 7:07 left. Less than a minute later, he made another jumper and DerMarrJohnson's free throw gave Denver its first lead since the opening quarter, 82-81.

"This win was great to get one for us and to get one for Coach Cooper," Anthony said. "We wanted to play relaxed and with confidence. Coach wanted us to focus on defense, and we did just that."

Johnson scored seven of his 18 points in the fourth and put the Nuggets on top for good, 89-87, with a 3-pointer with just over two minutes left.

"Victory, that's all we play for," Johnson said. "Coach said we have to win games on defense and get more rebounds."

Denver held Philadelphia under 100 points for the first time in nine games. The loss snapped a five-game road winning streak for the Sixers.

Sixers guard Allen Iverson scored 14 of his 29 points in the first quarter and dished out eight assists but was just 1-of-6 in the fourth and missed 3-of-5 free throws in the final 9:18.

"We were trying to put the ball in Allen's hands and he got fouled," Philadelphia coach Jim O'Brien said. "We got the shots we wanted and executed fairly well down the stretch. It just didn't fall our way."

Sixers forward Kyle Korver had a chance to tie the game with a 3-pointer with three seconds left, but the shot bounced off the back of the rim.

"It was as good of a look as you can expect," Korver said. "I thought I made it, but it wasn't meant to be, I guess."

Philadelphia led by 11 with less than 10 minutes left before Denver made its final push, aided by 10 turnovers by the Sixers.

"I didn't think our decision making was good down the stretch and in the fourth quarter," said Korver. "We were playing like we were tired, so it's our fault."

Iverson is averaging 32.8 points through the first four games of Philadelphia's eight-game road trip. His efforts led the Sixers to wins in their first three contests but were not enough in this one as they failed to win a fourth straight game for the third time this season.

Denver center Marcus Camby made 4-of-5 shots before leaving with a hyperextension of his lower back late in the first quarter. He helped the Nuggets race to a 16-2 lead, but soon after he was hurt, Philadelphia went on a 17-0 run en route to a 52-46 halftime lead.

The Nuggets travel to Los Angeles to meet the Lakers on Sunday. But Cooper will savor his first win before the meeting with his former team.

"The team gave me the game ball," Cooper said. "I have had game balls given to me in the past and I've kept them all. This one will go high on my mantle with the others."