Taurean Prince scored 14 points in the first half, highlighted by a string of three straight 3-pointers in the first quarter that helped the Hawks build a 29-19 lead in what was nearly a wire-to-wire win against a team competing for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Dennis Schroder unleashed his unique brand of offensive mastery in the second quarter – an alley-oop pass to John Collins followed by back-to-back layups in traffic – to spark Atlanta to a 54-46 halftime lead.
Schroder’s downhill attacks – he had a team-high 19 points and 10 assists – sparked a strong outside shooting effort. The Hawks, who entered the game seventh in the NBA in 3-point shooting percentage (37.5), hit 12-of-27 (44.4) from long range Wednesday. Prince, who finished 16 points, hit 4-of-9 from the perimeter.
And the 3-point pendulum swung both ways for Atlanta. Aggressive in closing out on Denver shooters, the Hawks did their part in limiting the Nuggets to 9-of-36 (25 percent) shooting from deep.
Malcolm Delaney provided a playmaking punch off the bench in the second half. Five of his six assists and six of his 10 points came in the second half. The guard’s back-to-back buckets midway through the fourth quarter gave the Hawks a 93-81 lead, their largest of the game. They coasted from there to improve to 11-30.
A long, trying road trip ended with a happy flight.