Nuggets dust Hawks in 4th quarter

ATLANTA - Carmelo Anthony scored 26 points, Earl Boykins added 19 and the Denver Nuggets dominated the fourth quarter, beating the Atlanta Hawks 100-87 Tuesday night.

The Nuggets outscored Atlanta 29-17 in the final period, turning a close game into a blowout. The Hawks missed their first 13 shots of the fourth and squandered four other possessions with turnovers.

By the time Solomon Jones scored Atlanta's first field goal of the period on a layup with 5:11 remaining, the Hawks had managed to get two shots to bounce over the backboard without getting one to fall through the net.

At that point, the Nuggets had a commanding 17-point lead. The 5-foot-5 Boykins hit a 3-pointer early in the period, used his quickness to get free for a couple of pull-up jumpers and blew by the Hawks to make a driving shot with his left hand, banking it high off the backboard.

Yakhouba Diawara hit a couple of 3s to help the Nuggets take control. Anthony had just four points in the final period, but did manage a thunderous dunk with just over a minute remaining that drew ''ahhhs'' from what remained of the crowd.

The Hawks returned home after going 2-3 on a West Coast road trip, which included a 98-96 victory at Denver. In that game, Joe Johnson scored 27 points to help Atlanta overcome a 17-point deficit in the final quarter.

Johnson wasn't available for this one, sitting out his second straight game with a strained right calf. The Hawks sure could have used their top scorer, who is averaging 28.7 points, in that miserable final period.

The Hawks, who lost their third in a row, were led by Josh Smith with 21 points.

The Hawks jumped out to a 10-point lead in the first 7 minutes and appeared to be in control again when they closed the first half with a 13-2 spurt. Atlanta went to the locker room with a 54-43 lead at the break.

But Denver whittled away at the deficit and went up 71-70 on Boykins' 19-foot jumper with 8 seconds left in the third.

That was just a preview of the Nuggets' domination in the final quarter, which began with Denver ripping off a 19-2 run. Atlanta missed its last five shots of the third and stretched its drought to 18 straight before Jones' basket.

Notes: The Nuggets dominated the boards, led by Marcus Camby with 17 rebounds. Denver finished with a 46-36 edge. ... Atlanta F Marvin Williams, making his second straight start since returning from a broken hand, played 30 1/2 minutes and scored 10 points. ... JR Smith had 17 points for the Nuggets. ... Royal Ivey started in place of Johnson but played less than 15 minutes, scoring only two points.