ATLANTA -- A recent spurt of ugly losses left the Atlanta Hawks feeling that it was especially important to play better in their final home game before the All-Star break.
The Hawks answered the challenge with their most points in a half this season.
Dennis Schroder had 24 points and 10 assists and Atlanta held off a late rally by Denver to beat the Nuggets 117-106 on Wednesday night.
The Hawks never trailed and scored a season-high 72 points in the first half.
"It was important we came out and played well, and we did," Atlanta guard Kent Bazemore said. "We've got to play like that every night to get where we want to go."
Atlanta enjoyed a strong recovery from Monday night's 120-95 loss to Utah -- the team's fourth defeat by at least 23 points in its last 11 games.
The Nuggets cut Atlanta's lead to 109-105 on a basket by Gary Harris with less than three minutes remaining, but couldn't complete the comeback.
Following a turnover by Bazemore, Denver couldn't take advantage of the chance to pull closer. A three-point play by Paul Millsap, who had 23 points, pushed the lead back to seven points with 1:47 remaining. Schroder made two free throws for a 114-105 lead.
Wilson Chandler, who led Denver with 24 points, said the Nuggets "definitely ran out of time" and energy.
"When you're coming back, you expend so much energy just coming back and doing all those things so you just kind of run out a little bit," Chandler said.
Denver forward Kenneth Faried left after spraining his right ankle early in the second quarter. He needed assistance leaving the court and was on crutches and wearing a walking boot after the game. The team said X-rays were negative.
Nikola Jokic had 18 points and 15 rebounds for Denver. Will Barton had 17 points and seven assists.
Nuggets: Faried played after missing one game due to a death in his family. ... F Danilo Gallinari (left groin strain) missed his fourth straight game. G Emmanuel Mudiay (lower back pain) missed his second straight game. ... Malone was called for a technical foul after he practically sprinted toward midcourt in front of the scorer's table while arguing an offensive foul called on Darrell Arthur midway through the second quarter. ... Chandler drew his sixth foul in the final minute.
Hawks: Millsap was recognized before the game for his selection to his fourth consecutive All-Star game. ... G Lamar Patterson was signed to a second 10-day contract. ... C Dwight Howard, who had 11 points and 13 rebounds, drew a technical while protesting his third foul in the second quarter. ... Atlanta had 31 assists.
SEFOLOSHA NEARING RETURN
Hawks forward Thabo Sefolosha missed his sixth straight game with a strained left groin. He will accompany the team on its West Coast road trip and may miss only one more game.
"We've got our eyes on the Portland game," Sefolosha said, referring to Monday's game.
Sefolosha's injury has opened the way for Tim Hardaway Jr., who had 14 points, to start. Hardaway averaged 17.2 points in 11 starts before facing the Nuggets.
The Hawks' biggest lead was 20 points at 80-60 early in the second half. Denver coach Michael Malone said he took responsibility for the deficit largely built in the first half.
"Oh, we turned it up," Malone said. "We just got more aggressive. And I owned it at halftime. I said, `I gave you guys a bad game plan."