Paul Millsap had 24 points and 11 rebounds, Jeff Teague added 15 points and 10 assists, and the Atlanta Hawks rallied for their third straight win with a 97-92 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night.
Millsap says it’s been a long time coming.
“Yeah, we’re due for it,” he said. “We got a few (loose) balls. We got a few calls. Things just went our way in foul situations when it’s been the other team getting breaks.”
Kenneth Faried finished with 25 points and Wilson Chandler scored 12 for the Nuggets, who were coming off a dramatic victory Friday at two-time defending champion Miami.
Kyle Korver, who hit a pair of free throws in the closing seconds to make it 96-92, had 18 points and Pero Antic added 16 for Atlanta.
Denver erased a 21-point deficit in the third quarter to take its first lead at 81-80 lead on Darrell Arthur’s two free throws with 7:10 remaining.
But Teague hit a 3 with 3:59 remaining that put the Hawks up 89-87 and followed with a long jumper to make it 91-89 at the 1:51 mark.
“Every team has big wins,” Arthur said in reference to the victory at Miami. “(With) the good teams, it’s consistent, and we haven’t been consistent all year. We can beat anybody. We just don’t.”
Ty Lawson, Denver’s leading scorer this season, handed out 11 assists, but went 0-for-12 from the field and finished with just two points.
Before winning Monday at Utah, the Hawks had dropped from third to eighth in the Eastern Conference during their 1-14 stretch. The Hawks are 3½ games ahead of New York for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
Atlanta’s three-game winning streak is its longest since beating the Jazz on Dec. 20.
“We knew they were going to make a run, but I think our mindset was just going back to being an aggressive team,” said DeMarre Carroll, who had 11 points, 10 rebounds, four steals and three assists for the Hawks. “I think our biggest thing is we just have to keep staying aggressive for the entire game instead of just for 36 minutes or 40 minutes.”
Faried gave the Nuggets a 92-91 lead on a three-point play, but they trailed the rest of the way after Antic hit a long jumper over Faried from the left corner and Wilson Chandler missed a 3 that gave Atlanta possession with 30 seconds to go.
The Nuggets, who had erased a 14-point deficit Friday in a 102-97 victory at Miami, had won two straight and four of six.
After Korver’s 3 made it 16-3, Denver coach Brian Shaw called timeout, and the Nuggets went on a 23-15 run, but they trailed 53-37 on Teague’s three-point play with 12 seconds left before halftime.
Atlanta went ahead by 21 early in the third on Antic’s 3, but Denver cut the lead to seven on Foye’s 3 at the 5-minute mark, and the Nuggets only trailed by six entering the fourth.
“Just a case of too little, too late,” Shaw said. “We were real lethargic in the first half. We needed to play the way we played the end of the third quarter (and during the) fourth quarter from the start of the game.”
NOTES: Antic’s long jumper with 41.8 seconds remaining was originally scored as a 3, but officials changed the call after watching a replay. ... Carroll’s double-double was the second of his career. ... Former Wheeler High School star J.J. Hickson scored 12 points for Denver. ... The Nuggets outscored Atlanta 44-26 in the paint and 39-13 off the bench, but Atlanta converted 21 turnovers into 25 points. ... The Hawks have won five of six at home against Denver and are 20-3 since 1989-90 versus the Nuggets in Atlanta. ... Atlanta, the NBA assists leader, handed out 25. The Hawks have had 20 assists in 60 of 64 games this season.