Hawks Grab Big Lead Early, Cruise To Easy Win Over Nuggets Monday Night

DENVER — Forward Paul Millsap had 22 points and nine rebounds, center Al Horford scored 18, and the Atlanta Hawks grabbed a big lead early and cruised to a 119-105 win over the Denver Nuggets on Monday night.

Guard Jeff Teague had 12 points and 10 assists, and guard Dennis Schroder added 15 points off the bench for Atlanta, which finished 2-2 on its Western Conference road trip.

Denver guard Will Barton scored 21 and center Nikola Jokic had 15 points and 10 rebounds. Forward Danilo Gallinari and guard Gary Harris had 15 each for the Nuggets, who ended their longest homestand of the season at 4-4.

The Nuggets (17-28) were hoping to gain some ground in the Western Conference playoff race, but they head on the road for three games with a 9-15 home record this season.

The Hawks (27-19) were coming off a last-second loss in Phoenix on Saturday, but they didn’t let this one come down to a last shot. They grabbed the lead late in the first quarter and kept it the rest of the way.

Atlanta turned up its defense in the second quarter to take a 66-50 lead into the locker room. The Nuggets were 4-for-21 from the field in the second period and were outscored 35-20. The deficit could have been bigger, but Denver was 11-for-13 from the foul line in the quarter.

Things didn’t get better for the home team in the third quarter. Denver started 1-for-7 and fell behind by 22. Guard Emmanuel Mudiay and Jokic combined for 15 points in the third. Gallinari hit four free throws and a layup, and Harris’ 3-pointer cut Atlanta’s lead to 90-76 heading into the fourth.

The Hawks quickly pushed the lead to 18 in the final quarter. Denver trimmed it to 13 but a layups by Teague and Millsap, and a 3-pointer by guard Kyle Korver gave Atlanta a 111-91 advantage with 5:44 remaining.

NOTES: Denver F Kenneth Faried was back in the lineup after missing Saturday’s game with left adductor soreness. He went through shootaround Monday and was cleared before tipoff. He finished with four points in 17 minutes. … The NBA All-Star reserves will be announced Thursday, and Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer feels F Paul Millsap and C Al Horford should be on the team. “Those two guys are both unique in what they bring to our team on a night-to-night basis,” Budenholzer said. “They both stand out to me.” … Nuggets G Jameer Nelson missed his fifth consecutive game with a sprained left wrist. … The Hawks entered Monday second in the NBA in assists per game with 25.5. They have had 25 assists 26 times.

More from Rob Hamilton
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