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Hawks start strong, hold off Nuggets

By: CHARLES ODUM, AP Sports Writer
February 8, 2017 Updated: February 8, 2017 at 9:23 pm
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Atlanta Hawks center Dwight Howard (8) and Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried (35) battle for a rebound during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

ATLANTA — Dennis Schroder had 24 points and 10 assists and the Atlanta Hawks held off a late rally by Denver to beat the Nuggets 117-106 on Wednesday night.

The Hawks never trailed and scored a season-high 72 points in the first half. The Nuggets cut Atlanta's lead to 109-105 on a basket by Gary Harris with less than three minutes remaining.

Following a turnover by Atlanta's Kent Bazemore, Denver couldn't take advantage of the chance to pull closer. A three-point play by Paul Millsap, who had 23 points, pushed the lead back to seven points with 1:47 remaining. Schroder made two free throws for a 114-105 lead.

Wilson Chandler led Denver with 24 points.

Denver forward Kenneth Faried left after spraining his right ankle early in the second quarter. He needed assistance leaving the court. The team said X-rays were negative.

Atlanta enjoyed a strong recovery from Monday night's 120-95 loss to Utah — the team's fourth defeat by at least 23 points in its last 11 games. Coach Mike Budenholzer expressed concern about the frequency of the lopsided losses.

The Hawks regrouped with their best offensive half of the season, setting season highs for points in a first quarter (39) and any half while taking a 72-55 halftime lead.

Nikola Jokic had 18 points and 15 rebounds for Denver. Will Barton had 17 points and seven assists.


Nuggets: Faried returned after missing one game due to a death in his family. ... F Danilo Gallinari (left groin strain) missed his fourth straight game. G Emmanuel Mudiay (lower back pain) missed his second straight game. ... Coach Michael Malone practically sprinted toward midcourt while arguing an offensive foul called on Darrell Arthur midway through the second quarter. Malone was quickly called for a technical foul. ... Chandler drew his sixth foul in the final minute.

Hawks: Millsap was recognized before the game for his selection to his fourth consecutive All-Star game. ... G Lamar Patterson was signed to a second 10-day contract. ... C Dwight Howard, who had 11 points and 13 rebounds, drew a technical while protesting his third foul in the second quarter. ... Atlanta had 31 assists.


Hawks forward Thabo Sefolosha missed his sixth straight game with a strained left groin. He will accompany the team on its West Coast road trip and may miss only one more game.

"We've got our eyes on the Portland game," Sefolosha said, referring to Monday's game.

Sefolosha's injury has opened the way for Tim Hardaway Jr., who had 14 points, to start. Hardaway averaged 17.2 points in 11 starts before facing the Nuggets.


Nuggets: Continue three-game road trip at New York Knicks on Friday.

Hawks: Open three-game road trip at Sacramento on Friday.

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