Dennis Schroder guides Atlanta Hawks past Denver Nuggets

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Hawks head out to the West Coast for their final games before the All-Star break with a victory after continuing their winning ways at home against the Denver Nuggets.

Dennis Schroder had 24 points and 10 assists as the Hawks, up by 20 points early in the third quarter, withstood a Nuggets rally for a 117-106 victory Wednesday night.

“It’s big to get the last win for our fans. We’re not going to be here for two weeks,” Schroder said.

Denver was within four points with less than two minutes remaining, but Paul Millsap completed a three-point play and Schroder hit a pair of free throws to put the Hawks (31-22) back in control.

Millsap had 23 points as Atlanta placed seven players in double figures. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Kent Bazemore each scored 14 points, while Dwight Howard had 11 points and 13 rebounds.

“We pushed the ball well and (were) defending as a team,” Schroder said of the Hawks’ 72-point first half. “We got some easy points off transition. … We were playing fast. I think that is the best for us.”

It was the Hawks’ fifth straight victory over the Nuggets in Atlanta and gave them a sweep of the season series.

Wilson Chandler scored 24 points for the Nuggets (23-29), and Nikola Jokic contributed 18 points and 15 rebounds.

“I was proud of the fight we showed, but on the road against a good team like Atlanta, you can’t build yourself a 20-point deficit and expect to come back,” Denver coach Michael Malone said.

Will Barton came off the Nuggets’ bench to provide 17 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, but he was 0 of 9 from behind the 3-point arc as the Nuggets went 13 of 44 from deep. Gary Harris, who scored 13, was 1 of 8 on 3-point attempts.

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“We had really good shots that went in and out,” Malone said.

It was a strange three-game homestand for the Hawks, who never trailed in a victory over the Orlando Magic on Saturday, never led against the Utah Jazz on Monday and then never were behind against Denver.

The Hawks, who remain a half-game behind first-place Washington in the Southeast Division, were up 72-55 at intermission against the Nuggets while posting their highest total for a half this season.

Atlanta, which hit its first four 3-point attempts, had four players in double figures by the break while shooting 56 percent, including 7 of 14 from behind the arc, and committing just one turnover.

Schroder had 12 of his 18 first-half points in the opening quarter as the Hawks jumped out to a 39-30 lead.

Bazemore made all three of his 3-point attempts had had 13 points at intermission, while Millsap and Hardaway each scored 10.

Chandler had 15 points at halftime and Barton scored 13 off the bench despite missing all six of his 3-point attempts. The Nuggets were 6 of 22 from behind the arc in the first half.

Denver made 4 of 9 3-point attempts in the third quarter and took advantage of seven Hawks turnovers to get within 98-87 going into the final quarter.

“It just didn’t feel like we were together on either end of the court in the third quarter,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “We did just enough in the fourth quarter to pull out a win.”

Atlanta missed all except one of its 13 3-point attempts in the second half but was still able to hold off the Nuggets.

The Hawks made 6 of 7 free throws in the final quarter and were 15 of 18 for the game compared to 13 of 21 for the Nuggets.

NOTES: The Nuggets were without starters F Danilo Gallinari (groin) and G Emmanuel Mudiay (back). Gallinari missed his fourth straight game, and Mudiay didn’t play for the fourth time in the past seven games. … F Kenneth Faried returned to the Denver lineup after missing a game for personal reasons. He scored one point in 10 minutes. … Hawks G/F Thabo Sefolosha (groin) missed his sixth game in a row. “I would say we are hopeful of him playing before the All-Star break,” coach Mike Budenholzer said. … The Hawks signed G/F Lamar Patterson to a second 10-day contract, but he did not play. … Atlanta scored the last nine points — all at the foul line — to win 109-108 at Denver on Dec. 23. … The Hawks open a three-game trip to the West Coast on Friday at Sacramento. … The Nuggets play the New York Knicks on Friday in the middle of a three-game swing.

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