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Smith leads balanced attack as Nuggets down Hawks

Mar 1, 2011 - 6:48 AM Denver, CO (Sports Network) - J.R. Smith finished with a team-high 19 points in a reserve role as the Denver Nuggets held off the Atlanta Hawks, 100-90, at the Pepsi Center.

Raymond Felton scored 16 while Kenyon Martin added 14 points with 11 rebounds for Denver, which has won three of four since the All-Star break. Wilson Chandler and Nene added 15 and 13 points, respectively, in the win.

Joe Johnson finished with a game-high 22 points while Al Horford added 21 points and 16 rebounds for Atlanta, which concluded a 3-4 road trip.

Marvin Williams added 13 points and Jamal Crawford and Josh Smith scored 11 and 10 points, respectively, in the loss.

"We shot 2-for-19 from [three-point range]. You're not going to win taking that many threes on the road," Hawks head coach Larry Drew said.

The Nuggets took a slim 71-70 lead into the fourth, and after keeping the game close in the opening minutes, created some distance down the stretch thanks to J.R. Smith.

Horford gave Atlanta a 74-73 lead with a short hook shot at 10:49, but the Nuggets responded with an 8-0 run, capped by a J.R. Smith three-pointer at 7:50.

The Hawks trimmed their deficit to 85-81, but J.R. Smith made a pair from the line and Nene added a dunk following a crucial rebound from Smith to expand the Denver lead to 89-81 with five minutes left.

The Nuggets stayed in front, and J.R. Smith widened the margin to 10 and kept it there with an alley oop layup and jumper -- surrounding a Crawford basket -- in the final minute.

Horford connected on a jumper to respond, but Arron Afflalo's dunk accounted for the final margin.

The Hawks took a 25-21 lead after the back-and-forth first quarter, and held off a second quarter Nuggets surge to take a 47-46 advantage entering the half.

Martin paced the Nuggets with 10 points on 5-of-6 from the field in the third as Denver took a 71-70 lead into the final stanza.

"I thought our offense was really slow in the first half," Nuggets head coach George Karl said. "In the second half I thought we got better opportunities in the open court."

Game Notes

Atlanta is now 19-15 on the road...The Hawks will return home for a four-game residency that will feature visits from the Bulls, Thunder, Knicks and Lakers...Kirk Hinrich missed the game for Atlanta with a sore calf...The Nuggets have won four straight at home...Denver is 25-7 at home this season -- the second best record in the Western Conference behind San Antonio (28-2)...The Nuggets have won four straight against Atlanta in Denver...Danilo Gallinari did not play for Denver due to a sore big toe on his left foot.