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.
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
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.
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
"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
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.
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."
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.