DALLAS — The Atlanta Hawks may be one step closer to resembling the team they were for the first couple of weeks of the season.
Atlanta has won consecutive games for the first time in more than a month after slipping past the Dallas Mavericks 98-95 Wednesday night at American Airlines Center.
The Hawks (14-9) aren’t ready to say they are back, but winning two in row is positive sign.
“It’s good,” said Atlanta guard Kyle Korver, who had a key three-point play late. “We’ve got to put together long stretches. We’ve got to get back to being a consistent team night in and night out.
“We’ve kind of gone quarter by quarter, half by half or game by game. We had a good start, and since then we haven’t been able to put long stretches together.”
Power forward Paul Millsap scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead another typical balanced attack by Atlanta. Four other Hawks scored in double figures, including forward Kent Bazemore (12 points) and guard Dennis Schroder (11 points) off the bench.
Atlanta, which opened the season 7-1, withstood a Dallas surge in the fourth quarter by finishing strong. After falling behind 93-89, the Hawks reeled off a 7-0 surge to regain a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
After the Hawks went ahead 96-93, the Mavs (13-10) had several chances to tie with looks from beyond the arc. Power forward Dirk Nowitzki, struggling with his shot all night, missed a pair of 3-pointers.
Atlanta scored its final points on two free throws from point guard Jeff Teague with 11 seconds left. Mavs shooting guard Wesley Matthews was whistled for the foul but didn’t buy the call.
“I don’t know what they were looking at,” Matthews said. “Obviously, they saw a foul. It’s crazy to me. It’s at the end of the game with the game on the line and the guy is leaning forward into me. Of course there is going to be contact.”
Dallas had one last chance in the final seconds but could manage only a long desperation 3-point attempt from point guard Deron Williams that didn’t have a chance.
“It is a good win on the road against a good team,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “It is tough here in their building.”
Hawks center Al Horford had 14 points and eight boards. Teague scored 14 points and dished out six assists.
Bazemore’s 3-pointer gave the Hawks a 94-93 edge with more than two minutes to play. It was the last of 20 lead changes.
Williams scored a team-high 18 points for the Mavericks. Matthews had 17, including a 3-pointer that tied the game at 84-84.
Mavericks center Zaza Pachulia had 11 points and 17 rebounds against his former team. Nowitzki scored 13 on 6-of-20 shooting, including 1-of-8 from 3-point territory.
Budenholzer was quick to credit his bigs — Millsap, Horford and forward Mike Muscala — for the defensive effort against Nowitzki.
“They all made it difficult on him,” Budenholzer said.
Dallas shot a season-low 36 percent (36-for-100).
“We had a tough night shooting the ball,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “That’s obvious by the stats. Sometimes that’s going to happen.
“I think our undoing tonight was the first half when we had our lowest activity numbers of the entire year in terms of contesting shots, 50-50 balls. Even though the score was relatively close, we weren’t playing to the level of intensity that we needed to.”
The Hawks, who shot 48.1 percent, complete a back-to-back Thursday night at Oklahoma City. Dallas plays the second of a three-game homestand against Washington on Saturday.
Neither side could separate in the first half as the lead changed hands 12 times. The Hawks had the final push to go into the locker room up 49-44.
The Mavs welcomed back a couple of injured reserve guards in J.J. Barea and Devin Harris. Hawks center Tiago Splitter was back after missing seven games with a calf injury.
NOTES: In an effort to minimize wear and tear on Dallas F Chandler Parsons, owner Mark Cuban could envision Parsons settling into his current sixth-man long-term. “Potentially,” Cuban said. “It worked for (Jason Terry).” Parsons is still playing limited minutes after offseason knee surgery. … Hawks F Paul Millsap came into the game as the only player in the NBA averaging at least 18.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 blocks and 1.0 steals. … Mavericks C Zaza Pachulia was third in the league with 12 double-doubles. … With the win, Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer passed Harry Gallatin (111) for ninth on the franchise’s all-time list.