Friday , Dec , 31 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Michael Cooper leads Nuggets against 76ers

Denver, CO (Sports Network) – The Denver Nuggets will play their first game
since firing Jeff Bzdelik, as they host they host the streaking Philadelphia
76ers tonight at the Pepsi Center.

Bzdelik was fired this week after two-plus seasons as the Nuggets head coach.
Denver has struggled to a 13-15 start and is in the midst of a six-game slide.

General manager Kiki Vandeweghe made the announcement during a Tuesday press
conference. Assistant Michael Cooper will take over for Bzdelik on an interim
basis.

Bzdelik, who was named the 17th coach in Nuggets’ history back on August 21,
2002, engineered one of the NBA’s greatest turnarounds last season. He guided
Denver to 43 wins and the team’s first postseason berth since 1995.

However, expectations for this season were high and, so far, the team hasn’t
lived up to them. Denver, which was expected by many to compete near the top
of the Western Conference after acquiring All-Star power forward Kenyon
Martin, has been decimated by injuries as well as inconsistency.

Denver’s most recent loss came on Monday night, as it fell 104-101 to the
Golden State Warriors at The Arena in Oakland.

Andre Miller recorded 21 points and 14 assists for the Nuggets, who played
without injured stars Carmelo Anthony and Kenyon Martin. Nene added 19 points
and Marcus Camby compiled 16 points and 12 boards. Anthony missed his fifth
straight outing with a sprained ankle, while Martin sat out after straining
his back in Sunday’s loss to Dallas.

Nikoloz Tskitishvili, who entered the contest with just 15 points on the
season, scored 12 in the loss.

Anthony is probable for tonight’s contest, while Martin is questionable.

Meanwhile, the 76ers are coming off one of their more surprising wins of the
season, as Allen Iverson finished with 34 points, nine rebounds and seven
assists to lead Philadelphia to a 114-107 road victory over the Seattle
SuperSonics.

Willie Green contributed a season-high 20 points for the 76ers, who have won
five straight on the road and three straight overall. Kenny Thomas chipped in
with 15 points.

Corliss Williamson and Marc Jackson both scored 13 points for the Sixers, who
are trying for their first four-game winning streak since March 6-12 of last
season.

Iverson, who has scored more than 20 points in nine straight games, moved into
third place on the Philadelphia’s all-time assist list. He is averaging 33.8
points and seven assists in his last 10 contests.

Tonight’s game will be the final matchup of the season between Denver and
Philadelphia. The Sixers posted a 110-102 victory over the Nuggets on December
14 at the Wachovia Center. Philadelphia has won four of the last six matchups,
but has dropped four of five and six of its last nine in the Mile High City.

DEN PHI