NBA: No Trae Young, but Hawks have enough to defeat Nuggets

Dejounte Murray saved nine of his game-high 34 points for the stretch run Friday night as the Atlanta Hawks, playing without Trae Young, outlasted the visiting Denver Nuggets 117-109.

Coming off a 30-point effort Wednesday in a win at Orlando, Young was a late scratch due to a sore right shoulder. The injury is not considered serious.

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Seeking a fifth straight win, Denver led for 21 seconds, but rallied from double-digit deficits multiple times to get within arm’s length of the hosts.

Atlanta had the answer on every occasion, however, including one final time after a Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 3-pointer had capped a 9-0 burst that turned a 12-point Nuggets deficit into a 104-101 game with still 5:16 to play.

AJ Griffin stopped the bleeding with a 19-footer and, after a Bruce Brown hoop for the Nuggets, Murray hit consecutive shots to begin a Hawks pull-away.

When Griffin polished off a 24-point night with another hoop at the 1:57 mark, Atlanta had a nine-point lead and was able to coast to a second consecutive victory. Murray added a late basket and three free throws to assure the win.

Murray hit 13 of his 22 shots and four of his seven 3-point attempts for the Hawks, who outshot the Nuggets 55.7 percent to 52.9 percent. He also found time for a game-high-tying eight assists.

Clint Capela (12), Jalen Johnson (10), Jarrett Culver (10), Aaron Holiday (10) and Onyeka Okongwu (10) also scored in double figures for the Hawks. Capela and Johnson completed double-doubles with 11 and 10 rebounds respectively.

Nikola Jokic had a team-high 24 points and Jamal Murray 20 for the Nuggets, who took their only lead of the game at 79-78 on a Jokic 3-pointer with 2:37 remaining in the third period.

Dejounte Murray countered with a three of his own 21 seconds later, however, and the hosts never trailed again.

Jokic also had 10 rebounds and eight assists.

Bones Hyland added 16 points, Aaron Gordon 14 and Vlatko Cancar 12 for the Nuggets, who were opening a three-day, two game trip.

–Field Level Media

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