Nuggets hold off Howard-less MagicApr 2, 2012 - 3:25 AM
The Magic were playing without All-Star center Dwight Howard due to a lower back strain, but got 27 points from Jameer Nelson and 20 from Ryan Anderson to stay close.
They had a chance to tie things at the buzzer, but Jason Richardson missed a running three-pointer to send Orlando to a third straight loss. Richardson was 0-for-6 from behind the arc and finished with just six points.
Denver shot 56 percent from the field in the absence of Howard, the three-time NBA defensive player of the year. Arron Afflalo scored 22 points and reserves Al Harrington and Andre Miller added 18 and 15, respectively as the Nuggets improved to 3-3 on their seven-game road trip.
"They're a tough team to stop," Magic guard J.J. Redick said. "They have a lot of weapons."
The Magic were within 93-90 coming down the stretch, then missed their next six shots as Denver scored six points in a row to take control.
Kenneth Faried's alley-oop slam in transition gave the visitors a 99-90 edge with 1:47 on the clock, though Orlando scored seven quick points to make the Nuggets sweat.
Redick's three-point play trimmed the margin to 99-97, but Anderson turned his ankle at the other end, giving Lawson an open 18-footer that went through with 23.9 seconds remaining.
A pair of buckets made by Nelson forced the Nuggets to make their free throws, and Miller's 1-for-2 effort at the stripe with 3.3 seconds left gave the Magic one last shot that fell off the mark.
"We didn't finish like we wanted to finish, but...I'm happy," Denver head coach George Karl said.
The Nuggets led by as many as 12 in the first half, but Orlando pulled within 48-42 at the break and scored the first nine points of the second half -- thanks to four Denver turnovers -- to take its first lead since it was 8-6.
There were four more lead changes in the third, which ended with Denver holding a tenuous one-point lead, 75-74.
The Nuggets had lost 17 of their last 18 visits to Orlando...Denver will visit New Orleans to close out its trek on Wednesday....The Nuggets are 15-2 against Eastern Conference opponents this year, going 8-1 on the road...Glen Davis got the start in Howard's absence and posted 18 points and 16 rebounds...Redick netted 15 points in defeat.
- DENVER: 104
Apr 1 8:29 PM
- DENVER: 75
End of 3rd
Apr 1 7:50 PM
- DENVER: 48
Apr 1 7:05 PM
- DENVER: 0
1st Quarter - 12:00
Apr 1 6:12 PM
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