Notebook: Hawks 104, Timberwolves 96



Posted Jan 21, 2013 7:43 PM

Jonathan Cooper, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: Perhaps it was the early starting time for the MLK Day holiday, but in the first half, the Atlanta Hawks looked in dire need of a wake-up call. At halftime, Hawks coach Larry Drew obliged.

Atlanta outscored the Timberwolves, 60-38, in the second half, shooting a blazing 74.2 percent (77.8 percent from three) to erase a 14-point halftime deficit, and outlast the shorthanded Minnesota Timberwolves, 104-96, Monday afternoon at Philips Arena.

Al Horford had a season-high 28 points and 10 rebounds, both game highs and newly-acquired Jannero Pargo came off the bench to put in 16 points, 14 of them in the fourth quarter, to lead the Hawks (23-18), who snapped a two-game losing streak and raised their home record to 14-7.

Derrick Williams had 17 for Minnesota (17-21) and J.J. Barea added 14 points and seven assists off the bench. The Timberwolves, who dropped to 6-15 on the road, had only 10 available players in losing for the sixth time in seven games, and was denied its first winning streak in more than a month.

The T'Wolves, who ended an 11-game losing streak 13 days earlier against Atlanta at the Target Center, were on target early, leading by 13 after the first quarter. They shot 50 percent, and outscored the Hawks 10-0 at the foul line. Minny also took advantage of eight Atlanta turnovers, turning them into 13 points. They would extend the lead to 18, shooting 60 percent in the second 12 minutes, and took a 58-44 lead into intermission.

But after Drew's "pep talk," Atlanta controlled the second half. The Hawks shot 68.8 percent, 66.7 from three in the third quarter, and tied the game with 3:18 left on a Mike Scott dunk. Minnesota answered with an 8-0 run and took a 77-70 lead into the fourth, but they would be buried by more Hawks hot shooting in the final 12 minutes.

Led by Pargo from outside and Horford inside, Atlanta shot 80 percent in the period, taking the lead on a Pargo three with 5:26 to play. That shot sparked a 12-4 run that boosted the lead to eight with 2:56 left and the Hawks kept Minnesota at bay the rest of the way.

QUOTABLE: "Coach is not the type of guy that's really going to come out here and say something you can't put in the paper. He flat out told us, 'Guys, you need to get it together. Play hard. I don't like the energy.' He was very stern about it but it was nothing crazy."
-- Horford, on Drew's halftime speech. Horford had 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting in the second half.

THE STAT: 55-38: Atlanta got a tremendous lift from its bench, outscoring the T'Wolves, 55-38 in bench points. Key players off the bench were guards Kyle Korver, who didn't start for only the second time this season, and Pargo, as well as forwards Ivan Johnson, who had six fourth-quarter points, and rookie Mike Scott, who added 11 and seven rebounds. Both were big on the defensive end.

TURNING POINT: Coming off a poor first half, Atlanta came out smoking in the first two minutes of the third quarter. The Hawks went on a 10-0 run, hitting their first four shots and got the crowd back into the game. The final two of those shots were Korver 3s that jumpstarted their outside game — Atlanta had made only 3-of-7 in the first half.

QUOTABLE II: "Sometimes you just need to see the ball go in and in the first half we just couldn't get anything going in the basket. We came out in the third quarter and we started hitting some shots and got some easier baskets. It definitely creates energy on both ends of the floor."
-- Korver, on the Hawks' third-quarter outburst. He shot 4-for-5, 2-for-3 from three in the period.

HOT: Pargo, who was signed to a 10-day contract Monday morning, blew up in the fourth quarter, scoring 14 points on 5-for-7 shooting, including hitting 4-of-5 three point attempts, while playing the entire 12 minutes. Atlanta sizzled from downtown in the second half, hitting 7-of-9 in the final 24 minutes.

QUOTABLE III: "I just want to come in and not hurt this team."
-- Pargo, who had 16 points on 6-for-11 shooting, 4-for-5 from three, with four assists and no turnovers in his 2012-13 Hawks debut.

HOT II: Forwards Derrick Williams and Greg Stiemsma helped Minnesota get off to a strong start, combining for 17 first-quarter points. Williams was 4-for-6, 1-for-2 from three, with two rebounds and a blocked shot, while Stiemsma added eight, shooting 2-for-5 but 4-for-4 from the foul line. One of his two buckets came off a neat alley-oop pass from Luke Ridnour. The T-Wolves led by as much as 15 in the opening stanza and finished the quarter up 13.

NOT: As Ridnour went cold in the second half and so did the T'Wolves. Ridnour made only 2-of-7 shots in the final 24 minutes after shooting 50 percent (3-for-6) in the first half. Minnesota also went cold. They shot 50 percent in the first half, including 60 percent in the second quarter, but converted only 41.2 percent in the second half, scoring 19 in each quarter. Andrei Kirilenko struggled all game, scoring 13 points, shooting 3-for-8, and 1-for-3 from three. He was 2-for-5 in the second half (1-for-3 from three). Kirilenko lit up Atlanta in the previous meeting for 21 points on 7-for-11 shooting, including 2-for-2 from three and 5-for-5 from the line. He did contribute six rebounds (the same as last game and five assists, also the same).

ROOKIE WATCH: Scott had a tremendous game on both ends of the floor. He played 21:49, scoring 11 points and grabbing seven rebounds with two steals — all career-bests. As important, he played lockdown defense on Minnesota's Williams.

GOOD MOVE: To start the second half, Drew inserted Korver and Scott into the game. Korver's pair of threes and 11 points sparked the outside game and opened up the lane as Atlanta shot 8 of 10 in the paint. The Hawks had a 26-14 edge in points in the paint in the second half, a 50-34 edge overall. Scott shut down Williams. Minnesota's leading scorer was 1-for-4 in the second half, after shooting 6-for-10 in the first half.

NOTABLE: Minnesota had been 14-3 in its last 17 MLK Day appearances. They are 14-8 overall...Hawks point guard Jeff Teague shot only 2-for-7, yet still nearly had a double-double, scoring nine points, while handing out a game-high 10 assists. Over his last four games, Teague is averaging 18.5 points and 9.8 assists...Korver played in his 700th career game and extended his streak of games with at least one three to 35...Atlanta handed out 32 assists, it's the Hawks' third-most unselfish game of the year. They are 5-0 when recording at least 30 assists and 16-3 when issuing at least 24...The Hawks actually shot better from three (62.5 percent) than from the line (57.1).

UP NEXT: For the Timberwolves, Wednesday vs. Brooklyn, Friday @ Washington, Saturday at Charlotte. For the Hawks, Wednesday @ Charlotte, Friday vs. Boston, Sunday @ New York.