ATLANTA (AP) Dejounte Murray scored 34 points, rookie AJ Griffin tied a career high with 24 substitutions for the injured Trae Young and the shorthanded Atlanta Hawks beat the Denver Nuggets 117-109 on Friday night.
Denver star Nikola Jokic, the NBA’s two-time reigning MVP, got just four points in the first half on 2-of-5 shooting, but he and the Nuggets warmed up in the third, closing a 16 deficit points with a 14-1 point to make it 64-62 on Aaron Gordon’s layup. Jokic had 24 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
Denver tied it at 75 on Jamal Murray’s free throw with 3:34 left in the third and took its first lead when Jokic’s 3 immediately beat the clock buzzer to make it 79-78 late in the frame. period.
Denver shot less than three on Bruce Brown’s layup with 3:37 left in the game, but couldn’t close the gap further after Atlanta ran 8-0, finishing with Murray’s layup with 33 seconds left.
The Hawks were riddled with injuries before the game with leading scorer Young sidelined with right shoulder pain and John Collins out for at least two weeks and De’Andre Hunter out for at least a week. In all, Atlanta had eight players listed on the injury report.
Atlanta has won two in a row after losing three in a row.
The Hawks outscored Denver 26-11 in points on turnovers.
Nuggets: F Michael Porter Jr. missed his fifth straight game with a sprained left heel. … Jamal Murray was a game-time decision with a deep thigh bruise. … F Jeff Green was out with a bruised right knee, but coach Michael Malone said the team hopes he can play in the next game.
Hawks: Young was a game-time decision with right shoulder pain. … Griffin started in his place. … G Bogdan Bogdanovic made his season debut after missing 22 games with knee surgery and scored five points in 22 minutes. … Collins (sprained left ankle) and Hunter (sprained right hip flexor) have been replaced in the roster by Jalen Johnson and Jarrett Culver, who has a two-way deal. … Johnson started in place of Collins and had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Nuggets: In New Orleans on Sunday.