RECAP: T’Wolves 107, Hawks 83

David Vertsberger —  March 26, 2014

FINAL

MIN(35-35) 107 – 83 (31-39)ATL

Key Performers:
Gorgui Dieng (MIN): 15 pts, 15 reb
Mike Scott (ATL): 15 pts, 7 reb
[FULL BOX SCORE]

The Hawks struggled with turnovers and spacing issues all night with Kyle Korver out of the lineup, falling to the Minnesota Timberwolves on the road 107-83. Atlanta shot 7-28 from downtown for a measly 25% clip from deep, and committed a whopping 25 turnovers – their second worst display of ball control on the season. The T-Wolves scored just under a quarter of their points in transition, mostly through leak outs that were bound to be on the scouting report. The Hawks kept it relatively close through two and a half quarters, until a slew of giveaways helped widen the gap in favor of Minnesota. With Atlanta squaring off against Portland tomorrow, coach Budenholzer emptied the bench about three minutes into the fourth to give his starters much-needed rest.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Paul Millsap: Millsap couldn’t get anything going tonight, often settling for jumpers or being crowded down low. A 4-13 shooting performance from Paul will rarely lead to a W, but on the bight side he was excellent just about everywhere else. Millsap showed a lot of activity defensively and collected 10 boards in just 27 minutes. 7/10

Jeff Teague: Teague didn’t score a single point. Not one. An 0-5 night was partly in thanks to Ricky Rubio’s excellent defense, but at the end of the day is still unacceptable. Teague did find his teammates with some rather impressive dimes, finishing with 6 assists, and properly defended Rubio for most of the night. Teague went under every screen and didn’t allow any easy looks. 4/10

Pero Antic: Antic had an abysmal night, never forcing Gorgui Dieng – Minny’s only true defensive presence inside – to come out of the paint. With Kyle Korver out, Antic was Atlanta’s best threat from three-point land tonight but couldn’t connect. Antic was 1-5 from the field, 1-4 from downtown, making him 4 for his last 22 three-point tries. And it should go without saying he didn’t really stand a chance against Kevin Love. 2/10

DeMarre Carroll: DeMarre had a strong outing, hitting his jumper with regularity and hounding Kevin Martin on the opposite end. Carroll was 4-9 from the field, scoring 11 points, grabbing 6 boards and coming away with 3 steals. On nights like these when the team is a bit of a mess, it’s always nice to see DeMarre providing stability with his defense and highly efficient shot attempts. 8/10

Mike Scott: Scott replaced Korver in the starting five, but scrapped down low for boards and only got into his offensive flow until he shifted over to the four. Scott was not a great Kyle Korver, but he was a solid Mike Scott tonight. 15 points and 7 boards on 6-11 shooting, and his usual lapses on the defensive end. 8/10

Elton Brand: Brand missed a couple of mid-range shots he’d normally nail, and was either too slow or too small to cope with Minnesota’s frontline this evening. EB still provided his usual brand of basketball (pun intended), scoring 6 points and grabbing 3 rebounds in 17 minutes of playing time. Matched up with Kevin Love, Brand would get caught on screens or beaten backdoor, giving up easy points. Against the 6’11” Dieng, who has a nearly 7’4″ wingspan, well you know. 5/10

Shelvin Mack: Usually a haven from turnover problems, Mack was the team’s biggest culprit in throwing the rock away 4 times in just 21 minutes. Mack too struggled with his shot with so little spacing, going 1-4 from behind the arc. 3/10

Dennis Schröder: Dennis played garbage time minutes. NA/10

Mike Muscala: Muscala played the most minutes of his career tonight, which turned out to be too much of a bad thing. In 24 minutes Muscala was a -21, second worst on the team, mostly due to his nonexistent defensive impact. One play had J.J. Barea muscle Muscala out of bounds from under the rim, which ended in two easy points for Minny. With the offense clogged, Muscala’s shooting should have provided some relief but his range is best in the long two zone and that wasn’t helping the Hawks out tonight. 3/10

Lou Williams: Lou led the team in minutes tonight, but didn’t bring much of anything to the table. 3-10 shooting and vulnerable defense made me wonder why Cartier Martin didn’t get some of Williams’s game action in the thick of the contest. However, Lou able to dish out 6 assists and commit just 2 turnovers, which are impressive figures considering how the team performed as a whole. 4/10

Cartier Martin: Mostly garbage minutes. NA/10

Coach Budenholzer: I was a fan of coach pulling out his starters with the game getting close to out of reach in the fourth. None of his adjustments – which were sound – worked throughout the night and the Hawks will have to be at their very best against Portland tomorrow. As far as everything else, well, can you blame a guy who doesn’t have two starters? 8/10

The opposition: The Timberwolves were without starting center Nikola Pekovic and took some risks in leaving Dieng on Antic for a large chunk of the night. Yet everything went their way, especially the patented leak out the team’s gone to that rarely didn’t end in a score on this night. 9/10

Next: Atlanta vs Portland, Thursday, March 27th

David Vertsberger

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