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Hawks vs. Nuggets Final Score: Tim Hardaway Jr. and Atlanta cruises past Denver, 116-98.

Tim Hardaway Jr. wasted no time to make his presence known in the starting lineup in Atlanta's dominant win over Denver.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

In a very solid effort from the starting unit, the Atlanta Hawks took care of the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night in a near wire-to-wire win.

The Hawks opened the game up with a 10-2 run and wouldn't surrender that lead until a Nuggets' run and Emmanuel Mudiay three-pointer gave Denver a 46-45 lead with 2:15 remaining in the second quarter. After a Paul Millsap layup and another Mudiay bucket, Millsap's three-pointer to give the Hawks a 50-48 lead would be the final lead change of the night.

Atlanta stretched its' lead in the third quarter and went into the final period up by 11 points. The Nuggets failed to cut the deficit to fewer than nine points in the fourth quarter.

The story of the game was the dominance of the Hawks' starting lineup. Each Atlanta starter scored at least 11 points, while all played 30 minutes or fewer. The plus-minus numbers were staggering, as Jeff Teague had the worst number among the unit at an impressive +21. Kyle Korver led the group at +30.

Leading the way was plug-in starter, Tim Hardaway Jr. Hardaway started in place of Kent Bazemore and certainly made the best out of his opportunity, scoring a game-high 21 points on 6-11 shooting and 7-8 from the free-throw line. He also added seven rebounds and four assists in an encouraging performance. Millsap added 16 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double.

Three more Hawks scored double digits off of the bench, with Kris Humphries, Thabo Sefolosha, and Dennis Schroder adding the offensive presence for the second unit. Sefolosha led the group with 14 points.

The Hawks notched 33 assists in the game, their 4th most this season. Atlanta is 11-3 with 30 or more assists. They also had just 12 turnovers, improving a noteworthy record of 17-4 with 12 assists or fewer this season. Making 12 of 26 three-pointers in the game for a 46.2 percent clip, the Hawks are now 9-1 when shooting 46 percent or better from deep.

Atlanta is now 9-2 in its last 11 games and moved into the pivotal third seed with Thursday night's win. They'll be back in action on Saturday night when the Houston Rockets come to town. Stay tuned for more.