Someday, if this head coaching business works out for the Nuggets' Brian Shaw, he might come to some sort of win milestone and an inquiring scribe will ask: Do you still remember your first?

Especially given the early season angst and 0-3 Nuggets start that preceded it, his answer almost certainly would be emphatic and affirmative.

Shaw came into Thursday night's game looking like a man who'd had trouble sleeping through the nights of late, and he came away smiling and accepting congratulations for, yes, win No. 1.

The wild 109-107 win over Atlanta at the Pepsi Center didn't come easily, particularly because of stretches of inept interior team defense and getting beaten down the floor when there was no excuse for it.

Ultimately, though, the Nuggets came back from a 98-90 deficit with 6:52 remaining to pull it out, with the exclamation points being Ty Lawson's banked-in 3-pointer to put the Nuggets up 107-102 with 58.8 seconds left and then Denver — with three guards on the floor — making a defensive stand in the final seconds.

After Nate Robinson missed the second of two free throws with 7.5 seconds remaining, leaving Denver ahead by two, the Hawks went to their big men. But Paul Millsap's shot over Andre Miller didn't fall and then Al Horford's attempt off the rebound didn't go in, either. Millsap had 29 points and Horford 21 for the Hawks, but even working against the small lineup, they couldn't get the basket that would have forced overtime.

So Shaw had that elusive first win.

"I feel relieved to finally get it, to be honest with you," Shaw said. "It wasn't easy. Nothing's going to be easy for us with this team. Every night's going to be a dogfight, but it finally feels good to get one and to get off that egg."

Lawson finished with 23 points to lead the Nuggets. But a key was help from their bench, with a big lift from Robinson (15) and Evan Fournier (12, including two 3-pointers) and Miller (seven), who finished with a game-high plus-17 rating.