"They played well down the stretch I guess and did what they needed to do to win," said Afflalo, who finished with 12 points before fouling out.
The Magic had 27 fouls called against them, while the Nuggets only had seven. Not that anyone wanted to really address that.
"I'm not going to comment on the fouls. I'm not going to comment on the refs," Nelson said. "Both teams played hard."
Afflalo returned to Pepsi Center to applause — at least for introductions. Soon after that he was treated like any other opposing player and constantly heckled. When Afflalo made his first basket, someone screamed, "Who?!"
Afflalo was once a fan favorite, too, especially after signing a long-term contract. But the Nuggets saw an opportunity to upgrade the squad in the offseason and dealt Afflalo, along with Al Harrington, to Orlando as part of the blockbuster deal that landed Dwight Howard with the Los Angeles Lakers.
In exchange, Denver wound up with Iguodala, who hit a big 3-pointer late when the Magic were threatening to pull away. The Nuggets also tried to pick up big man Nikola Vucevic in the deal, but team executive Masai Ujiri couldn't get him included in the trade.
Vucevic showed Nuggets fans why he was so coveted, scoring 10 points and grabbing 14 rebounds for the Magic. He also missed a dunk late in the game before fouling out.
Seeing Afflalo leave town was difficult for Karl, who constantly relied on the guard's easygoing demeanor during Afflalo's three seasons in Denver.
Said Karl before the game: "Someone taught (Afflalo) at a very early age that winning is why you play. It's very deep in his basketball soul. You play the game to win. It's not numbers. It's not stats. It's to win."
Asked before the game if he was sweating the losing streak, coach Jacque Vaughn turned into a philosopher.
"To be able to fight adversity and see how you respond is a true test of a man's character, which ultimately is his destiny," Vaughn said. "That is who you are. Life is what you make of it. That is your own destiny. It's a great opportunity to forge your own destiny."
NOTES: Magic G J.J. Redick had 17 points. ... Lawson finished with 19 points while reserve Corey Brewer gave the Nuggets an early spark, scoring 11 of his 16 points in the second quarter when the team was struggling. .