Hawks Beat Nuggets For Third Straight Win

Saturday, March 15, 2014
By Robby Kalland

Denver Nuggets v Atlanta Hawks

Led by Paul Millsap, the Hawks (29-35) notched their third straight win — the second time they’ve accomplished that feat this season — by defeating the Nuggets (29-37) 97-92. Millsap led the Hawks with 24 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, three steals, and two blocks. The Hawks starting unit dominated the game, with each player in the starting five holding a +/- of at least +17, and were able to fight back from a three-point deficit in the fourth quarter to get the win.

Hawks vs. Nuggets
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Pero Antic – 16 points — gave the Hawks the lead for good with a fading, contested long two-pointer from the corner with 41 seconds to play. The shot was reminiscent of the one-legged three he hit to force overtime against the Bobcats on December 28, and the Hawks were able to get enough stops and make enough free throws to get the win.

“You have to stay with me after practice, man,” said Antic. “Everyday we do that. We joke, try different shots with the left and the right, off balance, and it’s worked two times so I’m going to continue to do that…No, no, he don’t need to [put that in the playbook]. Leave it to me. I will try to do that.”

“We compete,” said Antic of their resiliency down the stretch. “We have a great group of guys that play together and compete. We have ups and downs. That’s normal. The most important thing is to win. It’s a great system here, and we follow it.”

Jeff Teague finished the game with 15 points and a game-high 10 assists, and had a crucial rebound after missing a free throw with six seconds to play and the Hawks up two that really sealed the game for Atlanta. Off that rebound, Teague found Kyle Korver, who made both of his free throws with four seconds to play to put the game out of reach.

Korver continues to be red-hot from three-point range making all four of his three-point attempts and finished the game with 18 points. In the past four games Korver is an incredible 14-of-16 from the three-point line.

While the Hawks starters dominated, the second unit struggled. After a big game on Thursday, Dennis Schröder had a tough outing against the Nuggets with five points on 2-of-7 shooting with three turnovers to just one assist. Dennis was not alone though, as Shelvin MackCartier MartinElton Brand, and Mike Scott  all struggled to find a rhythm combining to go 3-for-11 from the field. Coach Bud didn’t seem concerned about the bench’s struggles on the night, noting that they have been good for the Hawks most of the year.

“Yeah, I think part of that resiliency and that poise that I referenced earlier comes with being a more experienced player and being in these situations — drawing on experience,” said Bud. “I think for our young guys, and not that everyone on our bench is young, but to come in and I’m sure they’re going to be anxious to come out and be better the next time, and react better to a run and do things to help our group. The bench really has been great the past few games. Tonight, the starters carried us through and I think it was their poise and experience.”

Defensively, the Hawks were able to contain Ty Lawson‘s scoring, holding him to two points along with 11 assists and nine rebounds. Kenneth Faried was a dominant force in the Nuggets’ second half run and finished with 25 points and seven rebounds. The Hawks were able to hold the Nuggets to 41% shooting and — despite being out-rebounded by 16 — they found an advantage by forcing 21 turnovers, leading to 25 points.

DeMarre Carroll led the defensive charge with four steals and badgered the Nuggets’ wing and perimeter players throughout the game. Carroll finished with a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds in 42 minutes.

The Hawks will be back in action on Monday as they will travel to Charlotte to face a gritty Bobcats team that currently leads them by two in the standings.

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Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images

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