Nuggets victorious in Millsap’s homecoming

In his return to Atlanta, All-Star forward Paul Millsap took over in the fourth quarter with seven of his 16 points as the Denver Nuggets fended off his former team to win by a final score of 105-100.

Paul Millsap making his return to a Phillips Arena where he played for the Atlanta Hawks from 2013-2017. During that span, Millsap made four All-Star appearances and led the Hawks to four-straight trips to the playoffs including a 60-win season in 2013-2014.

 

The contest began with a fit of irony as Millsap scored the games opening basket on a contested layup. However, it was not Millsap (who was 1 for 6 in the first half) but his teammates who gave the Hawks a run for much of the game.

 

Nuggets Center Nikola Jokic finished with a double-double as he was one of three Nuggets players to score 18 points to go along with game-high 15-rebounds. Gary Harris and Will Barton each also scored 18 points while Emmanuel Mudiay followed up with 16 points.

 

On the other side, Hawks star Dennis Schroder led all players in the game with 20 points and second-year forward Taurean Prince added 19 points for an Atlanta team that was unable to sustain control of the game for extended portions of the game. Were it not for five three’s from newly acquired Marco Belinelli the Hawks could have been out of it on several occasions.

 

The difference in the game came on the glass as Denver used them to gain the edge early off of second-chance points (16-8; 24-13 for the game). The Nugget’s defense also stepped up early as they held the Hawks without a point in the paint until the second quarter when Hawks center Dwayne Dedmon dropped the hammer with a dunk that gave the Hawks a 28-26 lead. Dedmon finished with 13 points and collected 10 rebounds. Mudiay’s 10-point outburst in the second quarter and Harris’ 11 points in the first half helped Denver take a slight 53-32 lead into halftime.

Hawks center Dwayne Dedmon finishes of a drive with the hard flush at the rim.

In the second half, Atlanta gave it a good shot with a collection of three’s and tough baskets inside from Schroder and Prince and victory seemed attainable entering the final quarter only trailing 70-68.

However, the Nuggets had other plans as they began the quarter with a blitz and stretched its’ lead to 83-75 at the 8:45 mark—it was a matter of holding on from there. That’s when Millsap took to being a big thorn in his former team’s side with difficult made basket after difficult made basket to counter any run the Hawks attempted to make to get back into the game.

 

The Nuggets (2-3) will look to continue the momentum when they face the rebuilding Brooklyn Nets(3-3). The Hawks’ record now sits at 1-5 as they host a talented Milwaukee Bucks (3-2) team on Sunday led by MVP-favorite Giannis Antetokounmpo aka “The Greek Freak” who enters with a daunting stat-line of 35 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, and two steals per game for the season.

 

 

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