ATLANTA - Joe Johnson scored 22 points and the Atlanta Hawks held off a late rally by the Denver Nuggets for a 104-93 victory on Tuesday night.
Denver, which trailed by 25 early in the third quarter, cut the lead to 101-93 on Carmelo Anthony's fallaway with 1:50 left. But Denver's Allen Iverson and J.R. Smith were ejected with 38.9 seconds left and the Nuggets could get no closer.
Iverson was called for turnovers on consecutive possessions. Iverson, hoping for a foul call on the second turnover, protested to officials and was ejected. Smith joined the argument, also earning an early exit from the officials.
Smith threw his headband and jersey into the crowd after leaving the court.
Anthony scored 36 points, Iverson had 27 and Smith 21. No other Denver player scored more than five points. Denver had been 12-2 when Anthony scored 27 or more.
The Hawks won with superior balance.
Marvin Williams scored 19 and Josh Childress 17 as six Atlanta players scored in double figures.
There were two ties in the opening minutes, but Atlanta never trailed.
Marcus Camby's jam cut the lead to 12 at 97-85 with 4 minutes left. Anthony Johnson, who had 13 points, and Josh Smith answered with baskets for Atlanta.
The Nuggets were short-handed and potentially distracted. Teammate Nene underwent surgery Monday in Denver to remove a testicular tumor. A biopsy will determine if it was cancerous.
Nene took an indefinite leave of absence Friday, and there is no timetable for his return.
The Nuggets also were without starting forward Kenyon Martin, who returned to the team hotel after having a staph infection on his buttock treated before the game.
Eduardo Najera, who missed Monday's game at Charlotte with an elbow injury, started for Martin.