Scouting Report: Wolves (23-23) at Hawks (24-21) | Feb. 1, 2014


Timberwolves at Hawks | 6:30 PM — Philips Arena

Where to Watch: Fox Sports North

Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM

After losing Josh Smith in the offseason and losing Al Horford earlier this season, the Hawks weren’t supposed to be in playoff contention. Well, Paul Millsap and his crew has Atlanta sitting at 24-21 and fourth in the Eastern Conference.

While the East isn’t as strong as it used to be, it’s still impressive what the Hawks have been able to do when many thought they were going through a rebuilding season.

The Wolves have been lingering around that eighth seed in the West and a recent push last week put them in striking distance, sitting just three games back from the Dallas Mavericks.

This is the second game of a back-to-back for both teams so it wouldn’t be crazy to see some extended bench play.

Last Meeting

The Wolves were 1-1 against the Hawks last season with the last game coming on Jan. 21. The Wolves fell 104-96 at Philips Arena.

Al Horford led Atlanta with 28 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks. Jannero Pargo (now with Bobcats) finished with 16 points off the bench. Kyle Korver hit three 3-pointers, finishing with 14 points. Mike Scott scored 11, while Josh Smith (now with Pistons) added 10 points.

The Hawks shot an impressive 57.7 percent form the field (41-of-71) and 62.5 percent from the 3-point line (10-of-16).

The Wolves had six players hit double digits in scoring, but it wasn’t enough. Derrick Williams (now with Kings) led the way with 17 points. J.J. Barea led the second unit with 14 points and seven assists. Dante Cunningham and Andrei Kirilenko (now with Nets) scored 13 points each. Luke Ridnour (now with Bucks) and Greg Stiemsma (now with Pelicans) had 12 and 11 points, respectively.

The Wolves were without Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Love.

This Week’s Results

Minnesota had won five of six prior to Friday night’s 94-90 loss to the Grizzlies, and it appeared they just might have enough magic left to turn around a major deficit and pull off another win at home. The Timberwolves trailed by 16 in the third but came storming back, eventually building as much as a three-point lead in the fourth. But with Minnesota leading by one and 2:24 left, the Grizzlies went on a 10-3 run led by interior play by Zach Randolph and a clutch corner 3 by Tayshaun Prince that iced the game. Kevin Love led the way with 28 points and 16 rebounds, while Kevin Martin had 14 and both Dante Cunningham and J.J. Barea had 12. The Wolves are winners of five of their last seven.

The Hawks exploded offensively last night in Philadelphia, piecing together a 125-99 road victory. Atlanta had 11 different players score, led by 18 each from Mike Scott and Elton Brand off the bench. The ball movement was incredible for the Hawks as they had 36 assists on 45 field goals. They also had 15 steals—each member of the starting five had at least one, with Paul Millsap leading the team with six. Seven players scored in double figures. The Hawks have won four of their last six games.

What To Watch: Kevin Love vs. Paul Millsap

“Hey now, you’re an All-Star, get your game on, go play.”

Those are wise words from a band called Smash Mouth. It is fitting being that both Love and Millsap were named to their conference’s respected All-Star teams. Love as a starter and Millsap as a reserve.

Both are well deserved.

Without Horford, much of the pressure on offense for Atlanta has been put on Millsap and he’s responded well. He’s having the best season of his career, averaging 17.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3 assists (career-high) per game this season. Those are pretty impressive numbers for a 2006 second-round pick.

Love his having quite the season himself. He’s putting up 25 points per game (fourth in NBA), 12.9 rebounds (second), 4 assists (career-high) and his Player Efficiency Rating of 26.8 ranks fourth behind Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Chris Paul.

Injury Report

Pekovic (ankle bursitis) is out indefinitely for the Timberwolves.

For Atlanta, guards John Jenkins (back) and Jeff Teague (ankle) are out indefinitely. Center Al Horford (shoulder) is out for the season. Forward Pero Antic (ankle) is expected to miss two weeks.

Probable Starters
  Timberwolves Hawks
PG Ricky Rubio Shelvin Mack
SG Kevin Martin Kyle Korver
SF Corey Brewer DeMarre Carroll
PF Kevin Love Paul Millsap
C Ronny Turiaf Gustavo Ayon


For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter.