Atlanta Hawks Rally, but Fall Short Against Wolves, 99-95


The Atlanta Hawks rallied in the fourth quarter of Wednesday night’s game against Minnesota, but were ultimately unable to claim a victory on the road, falling to the Timberwolves by a final score of 99-95.

Unlike the contest between the two teams two weeks prior where the Wolves got out to a 34 point lead, which the Hawks eventually erased, this game was tight throughout. Paul Millsap once again led the way for the Atlanta Hawks with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Jeff Teague also played well, scoring 22 points while dishing out 5 assists.

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The Atlanta Hawks shot poorly on Wednesday against Minnesota, making only 37.8 percent of their shots. The Timberwolves were marginally better than the Atlanta Hawks, shooting 41.7 percent from the field. Second-year guard Zach LaVine led Minnesota in scoring against the Hawks with 18 points on 7-13 shooting in 20 minutes. As was the case two weeks ago against the Timberwolves, the Atlanta Hawks found it difficult to contain Andrew Wiggins, who scored 15 points on the night and made a couple of important baskets and free throws down the stretch. 

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The Atlanta Hawks perimeter defense also contributed to their loss tonight, as three-point specialist Damjan Rudez came off the bench to score 13 points and shoot 3-4 from beyond the arc. Kevin Martin added 11 points, and Gorgui Deng added 10 points as well. Karl-Anthony Towns was largely a non-factor in Wednesday’s game, scoring only 10 points.

Wednesday’s game was very much a back-and-forth affair, as both teams held their share of leads. The Atlanta Hawks trailed 50-48 at half-time, but led 74-70 at the end of the third quarter. The Timberwolves controlled the fourth quarter, but never got out to a lead greater than 6 points.

With the Atlanta Hawks down by 6 points with less than 3 minutes left, Jeff Teague led a charge that culminated with an alley-oop to Al Horford with 2:14 remaining the game, tying the game at 94. The Atlanta Hawks would never claim a lead after that, as a combination of free-throws from Damjan Rudez and Andrew Wiggins would increase Minnesota’s lead by 4 points. 

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The Atlanta Hawks cut the lead to 3 points with 14 seconds left after Jeff Teague made his first of two free-throw attempts. He missed the second, but Al Horford corralled an offensive rebound. After a Hawks timeout, the ball was imbounded to Jeff Teague, who took an off-balance three pointer which barely drew iron, which essentially secured the game for the Timberwolves.

After a complete game on Tuesday against the Boston Celtics, the Atlanta Hawks struggled on the road. The did not move the ball effectively, recording only 14 assists (they recorded 23 the night before). As the team continues to weather this period of adversity early in the season, Wednesday’s game shows that the Atlanta Hawks still have a lot of work. They did out-rebound the Timberwolves 53-45 — an encouraging sign on an otherwise lackluster showing on Wednesday.

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The Atlanta Hawks continue their road trip and stretch of four games in five nights on Friday when they travel to the FedEx Forum to face the Memphis Grizzlies, who are now over .500 for the season. At 10-7 now, the Atlanta Hawks must persevere this difficult stretch of games. It’s tough to watch the team drop this many close games early in the season, but ultimately I believe they will end up better for it.