Wolves Roll Past Struggling Hawks, 107-83
Normally the Timberwolves start off the game hot and end the game cold.
Things were quite the opposite on Wednesday night at the Target Center when the Wolves took down the reeling Atlanta Hawks 107-83.
“I thought we responded well, especially in the second half,” Wolves coach Rick Adelman said. “Both teams struggled in the first half of scoring, they did especially, but I think overall it was a good effort.”
Wolves vs. Hawks
For a team known for lighting up the scoreboard in the first quarter, the Wolves weren’t themselves on Wednesday night during the first 12 minutes, scoring just 20 points compared to Atlanta’s 19. Minnesota played sloppy, turning the ball over six times.
Luckily for them, Atlanta was sloppier, committing seven turnovers. At the end of one, Kevin Martin and Corey Brewer led the Wolves with six points. DeMarre Carroll led Atlanta with seven.
Point guard Ricky Rubio went to the locker room to get 15 stitches in his upper lip, but he would return.
For Minnesota natives, a big moment might have came when Atlanta rookie post Mike Muscala, a Roseville Area grad, scored his first two points in his home state as an NBA player.
Other than that, though, it was all Wolves and they built on their one point lead, extending it to 48-41. Rookie Gorgui Dieng was a big part of that, finishing with 10 points and 13 boards at the break. Brewer led the Wolves with 12 points. Paul Millsap led Atlanta with nine points and seven boards at the break.
The third quarter was a big one for the Wolves, as they outscored the Hawks 27-20. Love had a team-high eight points in the quarter. After the third quarter, the Wolves were able to hold onto that lead in the fourth, something they should be proud of being it always hasn’t been the case for them.
Minnesota outscored Atlanta 32-22, thanks in big part to Robbie Hummel’s nine points off the bench.
“I was hoping we’d get a couple of quick baskets and open it up a little bit…” Adelman said of hoping to sit his starters after the third. “We got a good lead.”
Brewer and Martin led the Wolves with 18 points each. Dieng had 15 points and 15 boards, while Love finished with 14 points and 12 boards. Chase Budinger led the second unit with 12 points.
Atlanta was led by Mike Scott’s 15 points. Millsap had 12 points and 10 boards. Carroll and Lou Williams had 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The Hawks have now dropped four straight games.
Leader of the Pack: Gorgui Dieng
Dieng kept his hot streak alive, and earned his fifth double-double in six starts… in the first half! Dieng ended the half with 10 points and 13 boards. Dieng ended the night an efficient 6-of-8 from the field and also added a block, a steal and two assists.
“He really rebounded and that’s one thing I really like about him,” Adelman said. “The more he’s played in the last few games, the more calm he is offensively.”
Don’t Blink Highlight of the Night
To end the first half, wing man Corey Brewer nailed a jumper at the buzzer to give the Wolves a 48-41 lead. To make things better, it made him the leading scorer in the game at that point with 12 points. He was efficient as well, shooting 6-of-11 from the field.
The Numbers Game
Wolves vs. Hawks
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“He’s awesome. I’m so proud of him. He’s working all year and when the time came he took advantage. He’s just terrific. He knows the game. Smart kid.” — Wolves guard J.J. Barea on the play of rookie center Gorgui Dieng.
The Wolves stay at home until Friday when they host the Kobe Bryant-less Los Angeles Lakers at 7 p.m. The game will air on Fox Sports North and WCCO 830-AM.