The Atlanta Hawks (10-7) traveled to Minnesota (7-8) looking to build upon a strong win against Boston and exorcise demons from their earlier loss to the Timberwolves. They failed to do so in a 99-95 loss in Target Arena.
The T’Wolves bench accounted for 58 of their 99 point total. Minnesota was led by 13 points on just five shots from Damjan Rudez and Zach LaVine’s 18 points, six assist and five rebound night.
Reigning rookie of the year Andrew Wiggins was kept in check most of the night with an inefficient line of 15 points on 17 shots, but muscled up a bucket in the lane after taking body contact from Paul Millsap to put the Timberwolves up 98-94 with 1:24 left to go. The Hawks only netted one point in the final two minutes amid turnovers and bad shots, sealing the game for the home team.
Jeff Teague had a game-high 22 points on 17 shots with five rebounds and five assists to boot. Teague made Zach Lavine look foolish on during one stretch in which he recorded four straight layups, but it wouldn’t be enough. Al Horford feasted on the offensive glass to the tune of eight offensive boards as part of his 12 point and 12 rebound night. Thabo Sefolosha continued to wreak havoc on the defensive end and finished with 10 points on a perfect 4-of-4 shooting night to go along with six rebounds. Paul Millsap also logged 22 points and 10 rebounds and a team high plus-10.
The bench, however, was much less potent. As a group, they shot 5-of-25 (25.0%) from the field, including a ghastly 1-of-13 (7.7%) from three for just 18 points. Atlanta left too many points on the floor (42.7 eFG%) and at the free throw line (25-of-35, 71.4%) to expect a win. The team looked stuck in mud as an effect of the team playing their fifth home-and-away back-to-back game of the season and 17 games in the season’s first 29 calendar days.
Atlanta certainly started hotter than their last effort against Wiggins and crew. Just two weeks ago, the Hawks fell behind by as much as 34 points before rallying back to tie the game, but would still lose at the time their second of the year. There were no such heroics with neither team ever leading by more than 10 points and it leaves the Hawks with their seventh overall loss. The Hawks will have Thanksgiving Day off, but following that is a back-to-back on the road at Memphis and San Antonio.