Hawes had a crowd of nearly 20,000 fans chanting "Spen-cer Hawes!" in the fourth quarter after he turned back the Nuggets with a string of big baskets and blocked shots. Coming off the bench, Hawes had five blocked shots. Jrue Holiday had 14 and 11 assists, and Dorell Wright scored 14 points.
The Sixers won the opener with center Andrew Bynum out with a bone bruise on his right knee.
Ty Lawson led Denver with 16 points in his first game since signing an $18 million, four-year extension. Andre Iguodala scored 11 points in his first game since the Sixers traded him to Denver in the four-team deal that netted them Bynum.