|FreePlays.com Home » Preview: Atlanta at Denver, March 4th, 2013|
(Sports Network) - The Denver Nuggets have won four in a row and hope to make it five Monday night when they welcome the road-weary Atlanta Hawks to the Pepsi Center.
The Nuggets won two on the road and two at home during this stretch‚ including a fantastic‚ 105-103 home victory Friday over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Denver is a stout 25-3 in its own building.
Ty Lawson sank the game-winner with 0.2 seconds remaining on the clock to propel his Nuggets to victory over the Northwest Division-leading Thunder.
"It takes years to get familiar with the stress and the pressure‚ and also exhilaration when you make it and the disappointment when you miss it‚" Nuggets coach George Karl said. "Some people have trouble on that stage. Ty has had some mistakes there. Now I think he's starting to play a lot better‚ and I think making that shot will give him more confidence to continue to take that shot."
Lawson was held under 20 points for the first time in eight games against the Thunder. He finished with 11‚ but he's emerging as a star. Over the last 22 games‚ Lawson is averaging 20.8 ppg‚ 3.0 rpg‚ 7.5 apg‚ while shooting 49.4 percent from the field and 40 point from 3-point range.
That's why Karl called his number against the Thunder.
"It means being a leader and being one of the top options on the team‚" Lawson said. "It means the team has a lot of trust in you. It feels good to know I have everybody's support behind me."
Monday's tilt will complete a six-game road trip for the Hawks. The sojourn started with such promise as the Hawks won the first three in Milwaukee‚ Detroit and Utah‚ but dropped the last two to Phoenix and the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Hawks were down 16 in the third quarter Sunday night at the Staples Center. Devin Harris and Kyle Korver came off the bench with 16 points apiece and Harris scored the last 12 Atlanta points in the third quarter.
The Hawks took a one-point lead under 30 seconds‚ but Kobe Bryant made a tough‚ banking layup with nine seconds left. Atlanta ran nearly the same play that got them the lead‚ a little backdoor cut‚ but Josh Smith couldn't handle the pass‚ then Steve Blake intercepted a pass to ice the win.
"There were times when we had a little bit of momentum and then we'd come down and get a stop and then turn the basketball over‚" said Hawks coach Larry Drew. "We just can't play like that on the road."
Horford led the Hawks with 24 points and Smith chipped in 19.
The Hawks won this season's only matchup with Denver‚ a 108-104 victory in Atlanta on Dec. 5. Atlanta has lost five straight in Denver.