The Denver Nuggets and first-time head coach Brian Shaw got their first win of the season as they rallied in the fourth quarter and escaped with a 109-107 victory over the visiting Atlanta Hawks on Thursday.
The Hawks wrapped up a three-game West coast road trip going 1-2 after suffering a couple of heartbreaking two-point losses in Los Angeles on Sunday and in Denver last night.
Atlanta blew an eight-point lead in the fourth quarter against the Nuggets and had chances in the final seconds to tie the game but Paul Millsap couldn’t convert a pair free throws with eight seconds left, which would have leveled the score at 108, then missed a short step-back jumper in the last few ticks after Nate Robinson split a pair of foul shots to put Denver up by two points.
Millsap’s missed jumper occurred with 1.9 seconds remaining and the Hawks trailing 109-107. Teammate Al Horford grabbed the offensive rebound and also had a chance to tie the game before time ran out, but his shot went wide as time expired.
Six Nuggets scored in double figures as point guard Ty Lawson led the charge with 23 points, eight assists and seven rebounds in 39 minutes. Starters JaVale McGee (14) and Randy Foye (13) combined for 27 points on 11-of-20 shooting, while reserves Nate Robinson (15), Evan Fournier (12) and Timofey Mozgov (10) were also in double figures.
Millsap led the way for Atlanta with an impressive stat line of 29 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, two steals and one block in 34 minutes. He shot 10-of-15 from the field and 7-of-11 from the foul line, while stretching the floor and going two-of-three from behind the arc. Millsap’s 29 points were a season-high.
Horford had 21 points, nine boards, five assists, four blocks and one steal in a team-high 35 minutes. However, he struggled with his shot going 10-of-21 overall.
Kyle Korver scored 16 points but more importantly extended his historic consecutive games streak with a made 3-pointer to 78 straight games, moving into a tie with Dennis Scott for the third-longest streak in NBA history. Jeff Teague tallied his third double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 assists, while DeMarre Carroll chipped in with 10 points.
Atlanta got hardly any scoring help from their bench as five reserves combined for 17 points on 6-of-22 shooting. That’s totally opposite from Denver who got a whopping 49 points from their backups, including three that finished in double figures.
The Nuggets were scorching from deep as they shot 56 percent (14-of-25) from behind the arc, and did a nice job on defense limiting the Hawks to shoot just 30.8 percent (8-of-26) from downtown.
With Denver’s win, the Utah Jazz (0-5) are the only winless team remaining in the NBA.
Atlanta now heads home after three straight road games and will host divisional foe Orlando on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. (ET).