The Atlanta Hawks hoped to at least go 3-3 on their six-game road trip, their longest of the season. Expectations were raised after winning their first three games, but the Hawks lost the last three to finish at exactly 3-3 after a 104-88 loss to the Denver Nuggets.
Atlanta was a bit hobbled, as Zaza Pachulia (Achilles' tendon), DeShawn Stevenson (knee) and Kyle Korver (toe) sat out. Jeff Teague sprained an ankle and Ivan Johnson hurt a knee during the game, but returned to action.
Josh Smith and Al Horford tried to carry the club but the Nuggets just had too many fresh bodies coming off the bench. Denver's reserves outscored Atlanta's bench 50-27, led by Corey Brewer's 22 points and Wilson Chandler's 13 points. Ty Lawson added 18 points, eight assists, and three steals for the Nuggets while Kenneth Faried added 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Smith did pass 10,000 career points during the game, finishing with 15 points on 6 for 17 shooting. Horford added an 18/13 performance. Teague also had 15 points while shooting 6-for-17 and added eight assists. The rest of the Hawks struggled to find any shooting touch, as the club combined to make only 40 percent of shots attempted.
The Nuggets (39-22) moved to 26-3 at home, and are on pace to set a franchise record for home winning percentage (currently, they are winning at a .896 clip). The Hawks (33-26), meanwhile, sank to 15-16 on the road this season and are quite happy to return home.
"It's been a long road trip," said Hawks coach Larry Drew. "Fatigue does factor into (it) at this point."
The Hawks will host Philadelphia on Wednesday back at Philips Arena, but have a tough stretch right after. They will go to Boston on Friday, host Brooklyn on Saturday, travel to Miami on Tuesday the 12th, and host the Lakers on Wednesday the 13th.
The road to travel will not get much easier this coming week.