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Bones Hyland nets career-high 24 to lift Nuggets

Sportsnaut
Dec 17, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) handles the ball against the Atlanta Hawks in the first quarter at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 17, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) handles the ball against the Atlanta Hawks in the first quarter at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie Bones Hyland came off the bench to score a career-high 24 points and spark the visiting Denver Nuggets to a 133-115 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday.

Jeff Green added a season-high 20 points to help Denver to its third win in four games and a two-game season sweep over the Hawks.

Denver overcame an off night from Nikola Jokic, who still finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. He was limited to 26 minutes because of early foul trouble. Austin Rivers returned after missing eight games in COVID protocol and scored 11 points.

Atlanta was led by Trae Young with 34 points and 10 assists, his league-leading 15th double-double with points and assists. John Collins added 20 points and 10 rebounds, his sixth double-double of the year. Clint Capela, playing despite symptoms of a non-COVID illness, had 15 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks.

Atlanta, which began the season 8-1 at home, has now lost six in a row at State Farm Arena. The Hawks have given up 130-plus points in back-to-back home games.

Denver jumped out to a 15-3 lead, but Atlanta regained its footing and stormed back to take a 21-19 advantage. The Nuggets led 29-26 entering the second quarter.

Denver had a 39-38 lead with 9:06 left in the half when the Nuggets went on a 33-10 run and opened a 24-point lead on Jokic’s layup with a minute remaining. Denver led 72-54 at the break. It marked the most points the Hawks have allowed in a first half this season.

Atlanta could only trim the lead to 15 points and the Nuggets led 106-87 after three quarters.

The Hawks got backup center Onyeka Okongwu back in the lineup for the first time this season. Okongwu, the No. 6 pick in the 2020 draft, had been out following offseason shoulder surgery. Playing on a minutes restriction, he scored 10 points in 14 minutes.

Atlanta plays again at home on Saturday against Cleveland, the second of a three-game homestand. Denver continues its three-game road trip with a visit to Brooklyn.

–Field Level Media