Nuggets rookie Kenneth Faried added 14 points and Al Harrington had 12.
Marcin Gortat and Hakim Warrick led Phoenix with 14 points each. Steve Nash had 11.
The Nuggets took the lead for good on a layup by Lawson late in the first quarter. The lead grew to 11 midway through the second before Andre Miller's steal and layup just before halftime gave Denver a 63-49 cushion.
The Nuggets continued to push the pace and increase the lead in the third quarter. Lawson hit a 3-pointer and two free throws to give Denver an 82-65 advantage midway through the period. Faried brought the crowd to its feet with consecutive dunks to give the Nuggets a 97-81 lead heading into the fourth.