Millsap scores 22 as Hawks rout Nuggets, 119-105
DENVER (AP) — The Atlanta Hawks arrived in Denver angry and frustrated. They’re heading home feeling a lot better about their game.
Paul Millsap scored 22 points, Al Horford had 18 and the Hawks completed their Western Conference road swing with a 119-105 win over the Denver Nuggets on Monday night.
Jeff Teague had 12 points and 10 assists for the Hawks, who went 2-2 on their trip. Dennis Schroder added 15 points off the bench.
“It was a much more focused effort,” Horford said. “You want to try to end this road trip on a good note, so it was important for us to come out ready from the beginning.”
Atlanta was coming off a pair of three-point losses to Sacramento and Phoenix. The Suns beat the Hawks on a 3-pointer with 0.1 seconds left Saturday.
“Both the Sacramento and the Phoenix games we had opportunities and we weren’t able to pull either one of them out,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “So to win tonight was a good way to finish the trip.”
Atlanta snapped an eight-game skid in Denver. The team’s previous road win against the Nuggets was Dec. 6, 2006.
The Nuggets ended their eight-game homestand at .500 and fell to 9-15 at Pepsi Center this season. Denver started the stretch 2-0, including a win over Golden State, but lost four of its last six.
Will Barton led the Nuggets with 21 points and rookie Nikola Jokic had 15 points and 10 rebounds. Danilo Gallinari and Gary Harris also had 15 points apiece for Denver.
“It’s definitely frustrating only going .500,” Barton said. “We did some good things but we’ve got to figure out how to bring it every night.”
The Hawks outscored Denver 35-20 in the second quarter to take control. The Nuggets made their first five shots of the game but finished shooting 39.3 percent from the field.
“It wasn’t our offense, it was our defense,” Barton said. “They pretty much got whatever they wanted. They just outplayed us. Flat-out outplayed us.”
Atlanta led by as many as 22 early in the third before Denver rallied to get within 11. Emmanuel Mudiay had eight points and three assists in the last 7:35 of the period to spark the run.
The Hawks started the fourth on a 10-4 spurt to make it 100-82. Atlanta, second in the NBA in assists per game, finished with 28.
“We’re a good team. We’ve got to play like a good team,” Teague said. “When we play like that we’re a tough team to guard.”
Denver got within 13 but the Hawks pushed the advantage to 22 again on a long jumper by Tiago Splitter.
Hawks: Atlanta held its previous four opponents below 100 points. ... Millsap finished with nine rebounds. ... Teague had his third double-double of the season.
Nuggets: Barton had eight rebounds. ... G Jameer Nelson missed his fifth straight game with a sprained left wrist. ... The Nuggets were 4 for 21 from the field in the second quarter. ... F Kenneth Faried played after missing Saturday’s game with left adductor soreness.
Atlanta and Denver combined to go 57 of 63 from the free throw line. The Nuggets were 33 for 37, marking their first loss in four years when making that many foul shots.
Hawks: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.
Nuggets: At Boston on Wednesday.