This game could have definitely been billed as a trap game for the Hawks.
While the Timberwolves haven’t been good all year, they finally have gotten some of their injured pieces healthy. Ricky Rubio is back, Kevin Martin is back, and Nikola Pekovic and Shabazz Muhammad were both healthy for this game. With the Hawks on the second night of a back-to-back coming off of a loss against Memphis where Jeff Teague was hobbled with a slight ankle injury at the end, it would not have been too surprising if Atlanta got caught napping by a Minnesota team that still hopes to prove something this year.
Of course, this Hawks team is still proving that it is not one that is going to get caught napping very often.
Al Horford scored a season-high 28 points and DeMarre Carroll scored a career-high 26 points to pave the way for Atlanta in a 117-105 win over the Wolves in confines of the Target Center in Minnesota. The win kept the Hawks from losing consecutive games for the first time since mid-November, when the team dropped games to the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Los Angeles Lakers.
It definitely looked early on like that streak could end, as Minnesota was aggressively attacking the boards and getting second chances on offense. The Wolves had 23 offensive rebounds in the game and turned them into 27 second chance points, constantly extending possessions where the Hawks had to reset after playing 15 or 20 second of good defense. The rebounds were a big reason why Minnesota was hanging even with the Hawks at halftime with a score of 57-53 in favor of Atlanta.
But the Hawks turned it around in the third quarter, led by Carroll’s 11 points in the period. Overall, the Hawks committed more to running in transition, scoring a whopping 14 fast break points in the quarter. To their credit, the Wolves kept grinding on the glass and getting second chance opportunities, but the Hawks were mostly able to shut them down and forced the Wolves into 7-for-21 shooting in the period for just 19 points. Continue Reading…