National Basketball Association
Nuggets-Hawks Preview
National Basketball Association

Nuggets-Hawks Preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 2:04 p.m. ET

The Atlanta Hawks' recent surge has them on the verge of climbing atop the competitive Southeast Division.

All the Hawks need to do is secure their longest home win streak of the season Thursday night against the Denver Nuggets while getting some help.

Atlanta (39-29) registered its third straight win and sixth in seven games Wednesday against Detroit while moving within one-half game of Miami in the division.

The Hawks had a nine-point lead with 1:03 remaining cut to two with 19 seconds left. Jeff Teague then converted two key free throws with 17.9 remaining to go in a 118-114 victory and led the way with 22 points after tallying just six in a 104-75 rout of visiting Indiana on Sunday.


"We just found a way. In the fourth quarter defensively, we just locked (the Pistons) down," center Al Horford said. "It feels great to get the win. They were cutting it close there, and I wouldn't have been happy. I'm just happy we won."

Miami will face third-place Charlotte, which is 8-1 this month, at home Thursday. A Hornets victory over the Heat and Atlanta's fifth consecutive home win would give the Hawks a one-half game lead over both teams.

Atlanta will face a Denver team that's started 0-2 on a five-game trip after winning four straight to wrap up a seven-game homestand. The Nuggets (28-40) have given up an average of 120.7 points on 54.8 percent shooting in three consecutive losses away from home.

"We've shown we can be a good defensive team but consistency has been a huge issue with us," coach Michael Malone said. "I think that speaks to our age and youth. We're playing with a bunch of rookies. There are nights where we're going to be good and nights where we don't looks so good."

Denver let Orlando shoot 61.4 percent in the opening half and 54.3 percent overall in a 116-110 victory defeat Tuesday.

"The whole night was very disappointing," Malone said. "We allowed them to score 116 points and shoot 54 percent, which is just crazy. I'm very disappointed with our defensive effort tonight."

Atlanta shot 50.0 percent in a 119-105 victory in Denver on Jan. 25. Paul Millsap scored a team-best 22 points, which is also his average in his last five games against the Nuggets. It's also his highest average against any team since the beginning of the 2013-14 season.

Horford contributed 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting. He's averaging 19.5 points on 62.3 percent shooting in his last four games and scored 21 on 9-of-15 shooting Wednesday.

The Hawks are 32-8 all-time at home against Denver, winning six of the last seven. Millsap has a combined 47 points in the past two.

Kris Humphries, signed March 1, has averaged 19.7 points on 68.6 percent shooting in his last three games against the Nuggets but is averaging 7.7 in his first seven with Atlanta.

Denver's Gary Harris is averaging 16.6 points on 50.4 percent shooting in his last 11 games, 5.6 more than in his first 51. He had 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting in the loss in January.


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