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Denver's new coach a winner

Michael Cooper spent most of his first game as an NBA coach sitting on the bench, hoping the nervousness he felt inside wouldn't filter onto the floor.

Apparently, Cooper learned a little about acting during all those years in Los Angeles.

Carmelo Anthony had 24 points in his first game in two weeks and the Nuggets made Cooper a winner in his debut, ending a six-game losing streak with a 97-92 victory over Philadelphia on Friday night.

Cooper became the interim coach Tuesday after the losing streak and a 13-15 start cost Jeff Bzdelik his job.

"I was excited, but I tried not to show the team that I was excited," Cooper said. "As a player, I looked to the bench and if Pat Riley was looking a little nervous it affected me on the floor. So I tried to keep my composure so the players don't see me losing my composure."

The coaching change certainly seemed to provide a spark in the early going for the Nuggets. They made nine of their first 10 shots and held the 76ers to one field goal in the first 4{ minutes to open with a 16-2 run.

"My stomach was turning," Cooper said. "I wasn't too concerned if we had lost the game. I just wanted to play well. And if you do that, then you've got something to build on."