DENVER -- Brian Shaw won championships as a player and an assistant, but getting his first victory as a head coach was a tough accomplishment.
Thanks to a late comeback and two fortunate bounces, Shaw finally is a coaching winner.
Guard Ty Lawson had 23 points and eight assists, and the Denver Nuggets rallied in the final four minutes before holding on to beat the Atlanta Hawks 109-107 Thursday night.
Guard Nate Robinson scored 15 points -- including a free throw with 7.5 seconds left -- one of six players who scored in double figures for the Nuggets (1-3).
"I feel relieved to finally get (a win). It wasn't easy," Shaw said. "Nothing is going to be easy with this team, every night it's going to be a dogfight. We almost did everything in our power to not win it."
The Nuggets did enough, but it took a couple of misses in the final seconds from Atlanta's top scorers.
"It was weighing on everybody. Coach Shaw, the assistant coaches had speeches for us today," Lawson said. "To get this monkey off our back feels good for everyone."
Forward Paul Millsap led Atlanta with 29 points and 10 rebounds, and forward Al Horford added 21 points and nine boards. Both missed jumpers in the final seconds that would have sent the game into overtime.
"They hit some tough shots on us. I missed some shots that I normally would have made," Horford said. "We had a chance. Paul played so great, so many guys stepped up, too bad we couldn't finish it."
The score was tied at 83 after three quarters before the Hawks (2-3) pulled ahead early in the fourth quarter. Guards Kyle Korver and Shelvin Mack hit 3-pointers, Mack scored on a layup and guard Jeff Teague hit a jumper to make it 98-90 midway through the fourth.
Denver came back with seven consecutive points on center JaVale McGee's dunk, Lawson's floater and guard Andre Miller's 3-pointer to pull within 98-97 with 3:56 left.
Lawson's jumper gave Denver the lead back. The teams traded baskets, and Lawson's jumper with 1:46 left put the Nuggets ahead for good at 103-102.
His 3-pointer with 59 seconds left gave Denver a 107-102 lead.
"It was hectic. I felt like when we were up 98-92 it was a good chance for us to put them away, and we weren't able to," Horford said. "They kept making tough shots."
Teague's basket made it a three-point game, and Millsap hit two free throws with 26 seconds left to close the margin to 107-106.
The teams traded free throws, and the Hawks had a chance to tie in the final 7.2 seconds, but Millsap missed a turnaround jumper and Horford couldn't convert on the offensive rebound.
"I had a smaller guy on me, so I figured I could shoot over the top of him," Millsap said. "I knew it would be difficult to get to the basket. I settled for my step-back jump shot. I felt like it was a good shot, it didn't go in."
Miller, who was giving up 6 inches in the matchup, said he was trying to prevent Millsap from driving.
"If he makes a shot over me, he makes a shot," he said. "I didn't think he was going to post me, I thought they were going to go to the pick-and-roll, but luckily I got him off the block enough."
The teams traded runs in the first half before the Nuggets grabbed a 54-51 lead at intermission. Atlanta scored 14 in a row early in the game to take a 10-point lead, but Denver finished the first quarter with an 11-2 run to tie it at 26 heading into the second quarter.
A 12-2 run gave Denver a nine-point lead midway through the second quarter, but the Hawks came back to tie it at 48 late in the quarter.
NOTES: Hawks backup PG Dennis Schroder served a one-game suspension issued by the NBA earlier Thursday. Schroder, a rookie, was disciplined for hitting DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings in the groin Tuesday. ... Nuggets F Wilson Chandler, who missed his fourth game in a row due to a strained left hamstring, is back working out on the court. There is no set timetable for his return. "I'm looking and hoping for him as soon as we can possibly get him," coach Brian Shaw said. "He's starting to do more things. Hopefully, he's coming soon." ... Hawks G Kyle Korver's 3-pointer in the first quarter extended his streak to 78 straight games with at least one. It is the longest current streak in the league and tied for the third-longest streak in NBA history. ... The Nuggets won their eighth straight home meeting with the Hawks.