Danilo Gallinari had 23 points and Will Barton added 16 as seven different Nuggets scored in double-figures as Denver ran up the score early against on the Atlanta, eventually winning 115-102 after a the Hawks cut the lead late.

Despite Atlanta’s run at the end of the game, this one is never in doubt, as the Nuggets played their best game, and got their signature win, of the year, over a 50-win team no less. The Nuggets got things going right away, thanks to their suddenly stellar starting unit – Danilo Gallinari had ten points in the first, sinking two threes. While the Nuggets starters didn’t ring up big numbers other than Gallinari, everyone was efficient. Faried finished 6-7, Gallinari 8-12, and even Lawson, who went just 1-6, dished out nine assists and helped create space for the rest of the starters.

Denver would shoot 41.9 percent from deep and 50 percent from the field for the game – because the ball, according to interim head coach Melvin Hunt, was zipping around.

“It’s funny, I look at the stats sheet, and we only had four fast break points. That is terrific,” said Hunt after the game. “That looks like, ‘we didn’t do a great job on the break’. We played with such tempo tonight, it was incredible how fast our guys played.”

“If they got a good shot, they’re going to take it, but they’re looking for a great shot. And that’s fun, it’s infectious.”

Things only got better as the game went on. Denver racked up 38 points in the third quarter, and Atlanta’s comeback, such as it was, was never going to touch the Nuggets big lead, which was up to 30 points at one point in the third.

The cherry on top was Wilson Chandler, doing this:


Ferocious, and what I love most is the bench’s reaction: everyone is one their feet.

Of course, what was even better throughout the night was the Nuggets defense. They held the normally sharpshooting Hawks offense to just 33 percent from deep and 42 percent from the field – numbers that would have been much better had they not let up off the gas in the fourth.

Denver wound up with nine blocks.

“Defensively, I thought the guys’ communication was off the charts. They talked, they were on a string,” said Hunt. “We broke down a few coverages but we flew around and covered for each other.”

With the win, the Nuggets move to 4-2 under Hunt. They’ll get a break Thursday before welcoming in another playoff squad, the Golden State Warriors, to the Pepsi Center Friday. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

Zach Marburger is a staff writer for Mile High Sports. He can be reached via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @BurchBurger.

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