Hawks make big, early lead hold up against Denver
ATLANTA (AP) The Atlanta Hawks have moved into a tie for second place in the Eastern Conference.
But with 63 games left in the regular season, Kyle Korver isn't getting too excited.
''Every NBA game is tough, but we've had a favorable schedule to this point,'' he said. ''We've gotten to play some teams that aren't as high up in the standings as we're going to play later.''
Paul Millsap scored 23 points, Korver added 15 and the Hawks won their sixth straight game with a 96-84 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday.
Wilson Chandler finished with a season-high 29 points and Timofey Mozgov had 14 points for the Nuggets. Chandler and Mozgov combined for 21 rebounds.
Denver began the season with a win over Detroit before losing seven of eight. A Nov. 17 victory at Cleveland started a 7-1 stretch, but the Nuggets have since dropped their last three.
Al Horford and DeMarre Carroll each had 11 points and combined for 17 Atlanta rebounds.
The Nuggets missed 23 of their first 32 field-goal attempts and trailed 45-26 after Mike Scott's short turnaround jumper midway through the second.
Denver coach Brian Shaw, whose team was missing Kenneth Faried, Nate Robinson and JaVale McGee, needs less experienced players to fill the void.
Alonzo Gee scored a season-high 14 points in a reserve role, but the rest of the bench combined for just nine points.
''We're down 10 guys,'' Shaw said. ''Guys have an opportunity to play, so they have to take advantage of those minutes. Guys have to step up.''
Atlanta took its biggest lead at 24 when Millsap hit a 3 early in the third. Denver went on a 28-14 run to cut the lead to 10 late in the period, and baseline jumper by Mozgov made it a nine-point lead in early in the fourth.
The Nuggets were 5 for 32 on 3-point attempts before Chandler's made it 87-78. He followed with a layup on Denver's next possession, cutting the lead to seven, but Korver's 3 and Teague's layup put the Hawks back up by 12.
Atlanta never trailed after Korver's 3 midway through the first.
''We're starting to figure out how to play,'' Horford said, ''and build those habits to play the same way every night.''
Denver point guard Ty Lawson had four points and 10 assists to snap his streak of six consecutive double-doubles.
Dennis Schroder gave Atlanta its first double-digit lead with a free throw late in the first, and his straightaway 3 made it 41-24 midway through the second.
Nuggets: Faried, Denver's fourth-leading scorer, has a lower back strain and missed his first game this season. J.J Hickson started in his place and had four points and nine rebounds in 20 minutes. .... Robinson (back) missed his first game. He and McGee (left leg) have combined for a 10.9 scoring average this season.
Hawks: Atlanta, which began the game with no major injuries, has won six of seven against Denver at Philips Arena. The Hawks improved to 32-7 against the Nuggets at home.
Nuggets: Visit Toronto on Monday.
Hawks: Visit Indiana on Monday.