NEW ORLEANS, April 6 (Ticker) -- Under the leadership of George Karl, the Denver Nuggets have proved that teamwork and defense are a recipe for winning.

Carmelo Anthony led six players in double figures with 18 points and the Nuggets held yet another opponent under 40 percent shooting in a 94-83 triumph over the New Orleans Hornets.

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Since Karl took over for interim coach Michael Cooper on January 28, the Nuggets are 26-6 and have moved from a lottery-bound squad to within a whisker of sixth place in the rugged Western Conference.

Denver (43-31) is one-half game behind Houston thanks mainly to a renewed team concept of unselfishness and hard-nosed defense.

"A hundred percent from where we were before," Anthony said of Denver's improvement on defense and teamwork under Karl. "Obviously, before he came, we were 17-26 or something like that. Now we've turned it around, and we've got a chance to win 50 games. That's a (heck) of a turnaround right there."

Anthony, the team's leading scorer, had only four of Denver's first 59 points, but the Nuggets led by 20.

Andre Miller added 16 points and eight assists and Marcus Camby had 11 and 13 rebounds for the Nuggets, who had 23 assists on 33 baskets. They have averaged nearly 27 assists over their last 18 games.

"We made the simple passes," Miller said. "Nobody tried to do anything on their own. We helped each other out on defense."

That has been the Nuggets' trademark of late. Since Karl took over, the Nuggets have allowed 93.4 points per game and held their opponents under 43 percent shooting. Denver has held 19 of its last 23 opponents below 100 points and 13 of its last 30 foes under 40 percent shooting.

"We've tried to stay defensive-minded and to trigger our fast break," Miller said. "If we can rebound and play decent defense, that gives us an opportunity to get some easy baskets. It was a decent night, but we definitely want to stay solid and improve."

The Nuggets took their biggest lead, 70-47, following a transition layup by Anthony with 4:38 remaining in the third quarter before the Hornets started chipping away.

Dan Dickau scored seven points in a 14-1 run late in the fourth quarter that closed the deficit to 86-79. The well-traveled point guard had 20 points and seven assists.

Karl did not play Camby in the fourth quarter, and the Hornets took advantage by shooting 57 percent from the field and outrebounding the Nuggets by seven.

"Every time we take Marcus Camby out, we lose control of rebounding, and it's beginning to become a problem," Karl said. "In a playoff game you need more than one guy that can rebound."

Lee Nailon scored 16 points for New Orleans (18-56), and former Nugget Chris Andersen had nine, 12 rebounds and a career-high seven blocks. It was the Hornets' sixth consecutive home loss and their 13th double-digit home setback.

"A lack of energy, a lack of intensity," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "It looked like we just weren't here tonight."

New Orleans played without guard Speedy Claxton, who has a strained right groin and will miss the Hornets' home game Friday against Utah. Andersen sprained his right ankle in the final two minutes and is day-to-day.