Despite the fact that the team traveled to Minnesota without Kyle Korver in the lineup, there was a fair amount of optimism surrounding the Atlanta Hawks as they tipped things off against the T-Wolves. However, that optimism quickly turned to bewilderment as the team was hammered by the final score of 107-83.
The game began with a first half that could be described as certifiably ugly, but one that saw Atlanta actually compete for the better part of 24 minutes. The Hawks trailed by a manageable score of 48-41 at the halftime break despite shooting just 31% and committing double-digit turnovers, and on the encouraging side, the defense looked to be active and able to hold down the sometimes high-powered Minnesota offense. However, the second half wasn't nearly as kind.
Minnesota blitzed Atlanta in the final 24 minutes, scoring 59 points and generally running the Hawks off the floor. If there was a singular culprit for the beating, it was in the turnover battle, as Atlanta committed a ghastly 25 giveaways on the night, and they led to 32 points for the T-Wolves offense. Hilariously, the Hawks actually upped their shooting after halftime by shooting 17 of 37 (46%), but with the turnovers and extra opportunities, it mattered very little.
Defensively, this wasn't a disastrous performance, but the production generally waned after a very nice first quarter. The Wolves finished at 50% from the floor and they generated 31 assists on 43 baskets, and while a good deal of that effort can be attributed to Atlanta's offense making things very easy on Minnesota, the defensive effort noticeably slipped once things got rolling downhill. Kevin Love, who exploded for a season-high 43 points when the Wolves came to Philips Arena earlier in the year, was held to 14 points and 12 rebounds, but he was picked up a big way by the rest of the Wolves and that minor "win" was off-set.
For the Hawks, there was little in the way of a bright spot. Mike Scott led the offensive effort with 15 points and 7 rebounds while getting a rare start (at the small forward position), and Paul Millsap added a 12-point, 10-rebound double-double, but neither played particularly well overall. Jeff Teague was famously impotent in this game, finishing the night scoreless after an 0-for-6 shooting night, and he was given only 19 minutes of court time as a result of his lackluster play.
Atlanta will return home this evening in order to square off with the Portland Trail Blazers on a back-to-back on Thursday, but after four consecutive losses, it is tough to foresee much positivity when that game tips off in less than 24 hours.