Nuggets 104, Magic 101

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 01, 2012
Ty Lawson scored 12 of his 25 points in the second half and Arron Afflalo added 22 points as the Denver Nuggets beat the short-handed Orlando Magic 104-101 Sunday night. The Nuggets won back-to-back games for the first time since a four-game win streak the first week of March. Al Harrington added 18 points. Jameer Nelson led Orlando with 27 points, followed by Ryan Anderson with 20 and Glen Davis with 18. The Magic played without center Dwight Howard, who missed his first game of the season with back spasms. The loss was Orlando's third straight and only the second to the Nuggets in 19 meetings at home. Howard's absence was noticeable throughout, with the Nuggets scoring 44 points in the paint and shooting a 56 percent for the night. Howard was a game-time decision, but wound up missing just the eighth game of his eight-year career Sunday. Magic coach Stan Van Gundy continued to contend Sunday that the injury is result of Howard being jabbed in the back in the post by Dallas' Brendan Haywood during a loss to the Mavericks on Friday. Haywood has denied the accusation, but Magic officials have sent what they say is video proof of the plays in question to the NBA office for review. Only four of Howard's missed games have been because of injury, with the rest due to either illness or suspension. Not surprisingly, his absence was felt on both ends of the floor against the Nuggets with Glen Davis getting his first start at center in place of the Magic's six-time All-Star. The Nuggets didn't do much to exploit the void in the middle, though, with Nuggets 7-footer JaVale McGee managing just two points. They also kept the Magic in the game with 17 turnovers, compared to just 12 for Orlando. Orlando trailed throughout the second half before cutting a six-point halftime deficit to 93-90 on a free-throw by Davis. The Nuggets responded with six straight points, including a dunk off a fast break by Kenneth Faried. The Magic had one more rally in them, though, using a three-point play by J.J. Redick to cut it to 99-97 with 45 seconds to play. After both sides exchanged baskets, the Magic to foul and sent Andre Miller to free-throw line with 10 seconds left. He hit both, but got only 1 of 2 following a layup by Nelson. Jason Richardson got off a desperation heave at the buzzer, but it bounced harmlessly off the backboard. The Nuggets scored 22 points in the paint in building a 48-42 halftime lead. Denver led by 12 at one point, keyed by Lawson's 13 points. Harrington was also active off the bench with nine points. The Nuggets shot a robust 57 percent (20 for 35) from the floor in the half to keep them in front. David paced the Magic with 11 points in the opening 24 minutes as they still managed 24 points underneath without Howard's usual contribution. NOTES: Anderson left the game with less than a minute to play with an apparent sprained ankle. ... Van Gundy said though the Magic sent examples that show Howard getting hit in the post during the Mavericks' game, they aren't expecting much to come out of it. The league office has as many as 14 days to take action on the film it reviews. ''They're response is 14 days, so I guess they're swamped,'' Van Gundy joked. ''That's why we don't send anything in. It's a waste of time.'' ... Magic are now 5-11 on April Fool's Day with only one win at home. ...Nuggets are now 15-2 this season against the East.
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