Nuggets come out flat, fall to lowly Hawks 110-97

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Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets keep playing down to their competition.

The Nuggets fell to the Joel Embiid-less Philadelphia 76ers two weeks ago. Then turned the ball over a season-high 25 times in Sacramento and lost to the Kings 106-98. Tonight, Denver lost to a Hawks team that's also among the league's bottom-feeders 110-97.

The Nuggets trailed 93-81 with 6:06 left but still looked to have some fight left in them. Gary Harris scored on a crafty dime from Nikola Jokic. Then, Mason Plumlee stole the ball at halfcourt and went the distance for a two-handed jam.

But the Nuggets couldn't get stops against a Hawks team that came into tonight with the league's 11th-worst offense. Atlanta countered with two Dewayne Dedmon free-throws and two Mike Muscala baskets later Atlanta was back up by 15.

Jokic struggled offensively for the third time in his last four games. He scored just nine points on 4-21 shooting and finished 0-8 from three-point range.

Gary Harris was the lone bright spot for Denver. He scored a game-high 25 points on 11-14 shooting. The Nuggets have now lost three games in a row for the first time all season.

Denver and Atlanta slugged it over the first half. The two teams traded baskets throughout the first and second quarters as Atlanta took a 54-46 lead into the break.

But the Nuggets couldn't hit a shot. Denver shot just 19-51 (37.3 percent) in the first half and were a paltry 6-24 (25.0 percent from three-point range.

Denver came into tonight as the second-best third quarter team in the league this season behind Golden State and had outscored opponents by an average of 3.6 points in the third quarter this season. But the Nuggets won the quarter by a score of just 32-28.

The Nuggets trailed by four heading to the fourth.

Denver hosts the struggling Memphis Grizzlies, who are just 13-27 this season, Friday at Pepsi Center.

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