After suffering heartbreak in the final seconds of the Atlanta Hawks last game in Los Angeles, the team is looking to get back on the winning track. Atlanta traveled to Denver on Wednesday to cap off a long road trip against the upstart Nuggets who have fared well this season without Paul Millsap.
Atlanta’s inactives for Friday’s game included only DeAndre’ Bembry who will not play as he continues his rehab from a “left groin strain”.
The Hawks came out quickly and got to work against Denver’s poor defensive effort. Taurean Prince was on fire early and had 3 3 pointers in the first quarter. The Nuggets countered with some hot shooting early which fizzled out late in the quarter. The Hawks played some much improved transition defense since last game and held the Nuggets to just 21 first quarter points as the Hawks took a 29-21 lead into the second quarter.
The second quarter was a much more back and forth effort with the Hawks continuing to score at will but with the Nuggets picking up their scoring effort as well with Wilson Chandler giving the Nuggets good minutes early. John Collins was a spark for the Hawks late in the quarter catching a lob from Dennis Schroder and playing some good defense helping the Hawks to post one of their most solid first halves of the season 54-46.
The Nuggets must have had a fire lit inside the locker room at halftime because they came out hot getting big contributions from Gary Harris who had his own little scoring explosion in the third. The Hawks countered with some good closing minutes in the quarter in an attempt to limit the damage with another great stretch from John Collins taking the Hawks into the fourth leading 82-78.
In the fourth quarter, the Hawks tried to regain their control of the game on the back of some good shooting from Ersan Ilyasova. Malcolm Delaney was huge late with a huge layup and jump shot putting the Hawks up 12 with around 5 minutes to play and it was none other than Mike Muscala who hit the daggers late with a floater and huge three pointer that put the Hawks up 15 and up for good.
For the Hawks, Dennis Schroder was great with 19 points and 10 assists along with second year man Taurean Prince who scored 16 of his own including four three-pointers.
The Hawks will be right back at it as they finally head home Friday to take on Brooklyn in Phillips Arena to begin a lengthy stay in their own backyard. Stay tuned.