Scouting Report: Wolves at Hawks
Scouting Report: Wolves at Hawks
Wolves Editorial/Social Media Associate
Wolves (4-7) at Hornets (8-4) - 6 PM Philips Arena
Where to Watch: No local/NBA League Pass
Where to Listen: 830 AM WCCO
*Get your questions on the radio airwaves during halftime! Just tweet questions to @WolvesRadio and listen to the halftime show hosted by John Focke on WCCO 830 AM.
After defeating the New Orleans Hornets 87-80 Friday night, the Minnesota Timberwolves will look for another night of southern hospitality as they face the Atlanta Hawks tonight at Philips Arena.
And despite a less-than-impressive first half showing against New Orleans, the Wolves knew when to pick up their game. Shooting just 12-of-37 from the field in the first half, Minnesota finally found its rhythm after the halftime break – which was ignited by forward Kevin Love’s 17 third-quarter points.
What to watch for: Hawks stepping up
Forward Josh Smith and guard Joe Johnson demonstrated they can keep Atlanta rolling even without sidelined Al Horford, the Hawks’ big man who suffered a torn pectoral muscle against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night, Minnesota cannot afford a slow start or rely on a second half comeback.
Smith finished with 30 points against the Charlotte Bobcats Thursday, shooting 14-of-22 in the field while Johnson added 23 points, shooting 7-of-18 from the floor.
Tonight, each will prove to be an offensive threat but with Love’s consistently impressive offensive efforts, and rookie guard Ricky Rubio’s nearly flawless assists, Minnesota has all the weapons it needs to take on the 8-4 Hawks.
Rubio’s first start
As Minnesota coach Rick Adelman continues to consider several lineup changes, Rubio started and finished a game for the first time this season. Rubio, who made his first NBA career start at New Orleans, sunk four free throws in the final two minutes and finished with 12 points and nine assists. He logged a season-high 44 minutes—his previous high was 36—and was one assist away from his fifth double-double of the season.
Free throws key
Leading all scorers and dominating the second half, Love secured his 11th consecutive double-double with a season-high 34 points, 15 rebounds and finished 17-of-18 at the free-throw line.
Free throws were critical in Friday’s win. The team hit 86.8 percent of its shots (33-of-38), while the Hornets finished a subdued 8-of-16 from the line. It was the Wolves’ best performance from the line this season—the team is shooting 73.6 percent from the line as a team.
Minnesota will again be without starting forward Michael Beasley due to a right mid foot sprain he suffered against Cleveland on Jan. 6. Guard JJ Barea also will miss tonight’s game due to a left ankle sprain he suffered near the end of Tuesday’s game against Chicago.
Along with Horford’s absence, Atlanta also faces injury struggles with both forward Marvin Williams and guard Tracy McGrady out due to ankle and back injuries, respectively.
You can become a part of the Wolves Radio Network by Howling at the Wolves during halftime! Just tweet questions to @WolvesRadio or @JWFocke and Studio Host John Focke and Coach Steve Brown will answer them on 830 WCCO and the Wolves Radio Network.
For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter.