The Hawks and Timberwolves both came into the game depleted by injuries and the injury report for both teams was filled up. Atlanta, down to one point guard after Devin Harris sprained his ankle Saturday, signed veteran Jannero Pargo to a 10-day contract this morning after working him out on Sunday. Pargo was expected to play, but his 25 minutes were a shock to head coach Larry Drew and Pargo himself. The Timberwolves dominated the first half, taking a 58-44 lead into the half. Derrick Williams was dominant for the Timberwolves in the first half scoring 13 points along with seven points from Mickael Gelabale (Or Michael JellyBelly if you're the Hawks PA).
Minnesota shot 55% from the field in the first half compared to just 45% from the Hawks and went 11-for-13 (84.6%) from the free throw line. Atlanta had 12 turnovers leading to 15 Timberwolves points in the first half, while forcing just seven turnovers for six points. Jeff Teague struggled early both offensively (2-of-7 shooting) and defensively trying to keep up with Minnesota's Rubio/Barea/Ridnour point guard trio. Al Horford (14 points) and Mike Scott (7 points, 6 boards) really kept the Hawks in the game in the first half as the rest of the team struggled.
The Hawks came out firing to start the third quarter and improved their shot selection drastically as they went 11-for-16 (68.8%) with nine assists and scored 26 points in the quarter. Atlanta's defense tightened up to force Minnesota to shoot 41.2% and were able to keep Williams and Greg Stiemsma in check (2 points each). Kyle Korver had 11 points in the third quarter on 4-of-5 shooting to spark the Hawks rally.
The Hawks completed their comeback in the fourth quarter behind an offensive explosion from Jannero Pargo. Pargo had 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting including four three-pointers. Pargo, signed to a 10-day contract this morning, played all 12 minutes of the quarter and finished the game with 16 points and four assists in 25 minutes of play. Al Horford added seven more points in the fourth quarter and finished the game with a season-high 28 points and 10 rebounds. Al was very aggressive attacking the basket throughout the game and had four big dunks on the afternoon.
The Timberwolves had six players (Kirilenko, Williams, Stiemsma, Ridnour, Barea, and Cunningham) in double figures led by Derrick Williams' 17 points, but it was their defense that let them down in the end. The Hawks shot 62.5% (10-of-16) from the three-point line and 57.7% from the field (let's not talk about the 57.1% from the free throw line).
Jeff Teague picked up his energy in the second half and was a facilitator, finishing the game with nine points and 10 assists. John Jenkins, who got the starting nod, struggled in 13 minutes and was held scoreless, but it was the other rookie Mike Scott who excelled setting career-highs with 11 points and seven boards. Josh Smith had a quiet day offensively with 10 points, six assists, and four rebounds, but played good defense with two steals and two blocks and had three big assists down the stretch to Horford.
The Hawks will be back in action Wednesday against the Bobcats in Charlotte and could have Devin Harris and DeShawn Stevenson back in the lineup.