The Hawks were at home once again on Saturday night, and the vibe was positive due to their current two-game winning streak. Atlanta almost allowed the Bucks to come in and steal a game, but they showed resiliency, and pulled that one out.
In Thursday night’s win against Milwaukee, the Hawks came out flat, and fatigue was clearly a factor. That wouldn’t be the case here, as they came out firing from beyond the arc, and held a 16-3 advantage in the first few minutes. That run prompted Nuggets’ coach Brian Shaw to burn a timeout, but the Hawks would still maintain the momentum.
They led 28-15 after the first quarter, but things would take a turn for the worse after that. The bench came in and played some abysmal basketball, which forced coach Budenholzer to his starters more than he usually does. The second quarter would be a series of trading blows, but the Hawks built their lead to as many as 21 in the first half.
The Nuggets would catch fire in the third quarter, scoring 34 points in the 12 minutes, and were showing signs of life. The bench for Atlanta continued to struggle on both ends, and things were getting out of hand fast. Overall the Nuggets went on a 40-19 run to tie the game, and this one was going down to the wire. The game would then go back and forth, and it looked like the Nuggets were going to come away with this one until Jeff Teague hit a pull up three-pointer to regain the lead. Kenneth Faried of the Nuggets, missed both free throws, then the Nuggets got the rebound and the Hawks allowed an and-one. They would take a 92-91 lead, and that’s when it was Pero time. Pero Antic hit an off-balance shot that appeared to be a three-pointer, but after a review it was ruled a two. Jeff Teague would get to the line after that, and he missed one of his free throws, but got the ball back and Korver was fouled. He hit two freebies, and the Nuggets threw the ball away giving Atlanta their third straight win, 97-92.
Paul Millsap had an all-star caliber game with 24 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks and was a +25. All five starters scored in double figures, but the bench mustered up just 13 points on 16 combined shots. Jeff Teague had 15 points and 10 assists, which tied him with Joe Johnson for seventh all-time in franchise history for double-doubles consisting of points and assists (31 career). Lou Williams received another “DNP- Coach’s Decision” tonight, and he was visibly upset about it.
The Hawks are now 29-35 on the season, and regain their three and a half game lead over the red-hot Knicks for the eighth seed. They are back in action on Monday against the Bobcats in Charlotte, as they look to win their fourth straight game.