Nothing comes easy for the Atlanta Hawks these days. Denver rebounded from a 21 point deficit in the second half but the Hawks hold on at the end for a 97-92 win. Atlanta has now won three straight games for the first time since the middle of December and maintain a 3.5 game lead over New York for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.
Atlanta came out firing and started the game with an 8-0 run and took a 28-15 lead after one. The Hawks pushed the lead to 16 points in the second and took a 53-37 lead into the intermission. Transition defense was a primary focus for the Hawks coming in and they passed all of the tests in the first half. Denver made just 33 percent of their field goal attempts in the first half and turned it over 13 times.
Atlanta picked up where they left off in the third scoring the first five points of the period to push the lead to 21. Then Denver answered and the Hawks' defensive intensity lessoned. The Nuggets went to work converting on 12-16 field goal attempts in the period to cut that 21 point lead to just six at the end of the period. Denver outscored the Hawks 34-24 in the third and trailed 77-71 heading to the fourth.
The Nuggets began the fourth with a quick 6-0 run to tie the game and took their first lead on a Darrell Arthur free throw with 7:10 remaining. The lead would flip flop back and forth until the final moments. With the Hawks trailing by one the ball ended up in Pero Antic's hands in the corner with the shot clock running down. Antic jabbed stepped to create some room and then hit a fall away jumper to put the Hawks back in front.
Atlanta would not relinquish the lead from there. Jeff Teague converted 1-2 at the line to put the Hawks up 94-92 with 8.4 remaining. He missed the second but Antic tapped the ball back out to Teague who shoveled it to Kyle Korver. The Nuggets fouled and Korver calmly went to the line and made two to ice the game for the Hawks.
Paul Millsap overcame a tough shooting night by regularly getting to the free throw line to finish with 24 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks. Millsap was 6-17 from the floor but 11-16 from the charity stripe. Kyle Korver hit all four of his three-point attempts while Jeff Teague finished with 15 points and 10 assists. DeMarre Carroll also recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Kenneth Faried led all scorers with 25 points. Ty Lawson has put up some big scoring nights against the Hawks in the past but he was held in check with just two points on 0-12 shooting. Lawson did hand out a game-high 11 assists.