Nuggets hold off Howard-less Magic

Ty Lawson scored 25 points and handed out nine assists and the Nuggets survived Orlando's rally in the closing moments to pull out a 104-101 victory at Amway Center.

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 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 Nugget improved to 3-3 on their seven-game road trip.