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Nuggets Vs. Hawks: Atlanta Can't Shake Denver, Leads 47-46 At Half

Do you remember those days where you wanted to shake off your pesky kid brother or little sister so that you can hang with your friends? Well, that's kind of like what the Atlanta Hawks are going through against the Denver Nuggets on Monday night at the Pepsi Center.

Josh Smith has a team-high 10 points despite missing most of the second quarter with a right knee injury and Al Horford has eight points and 10 rebounds to stake the Hawks to a 47-46 lead at the break in Denver.

Wilson Chandler has 11 points and Nene Hilario posted nine for Denver, which is seeking its sixth straight win over Atlanta in their home digs.

On a couple of occasions, the Hawks have pushed the lead toward the double-digit mark. But each time, the Nuggets responded to make it a ball game.

Atlanta's getting by despite shooting just 39-percent (17-for-44) from the field. Of course, it helps that they've gotten to the post and taken their lumps. They have 14 free throws in the frame as compared to Denver's nine tries.

This one may end up coming down to a battle of attrition. Kirk Hinrich is out for the Hawks with a calf injury. Danilo Gallinari is not playing with a sore toe. Josh Smith and J.R. Smith had a nasty collision early in the second, with Josh Smith spending most of the frame on the bench.

It's a physical, physical ballgame, which should unfortunately give an edge to the Nuggets in the second half. Atlanta is a tired basketball team that got into the Mile High City in the wee hours of the morning after playing the previous night, while Denver has been off since Friday.

Hopefully, I'm wrong and the Hawks can keep up the intensity and end this road trip on a high note.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.