Hoping to end a three game losing streak, the Hawks hosted the Minnesota Timberwolves for a Monday night matchup in Atlanta. After showing positive signs by winning four out of six games earlier in the month, the Hawks have since suffered three consecutive losses by ten or more points to the Raptors, Hornets and Wizards. To get back in the win column, the Hawks would need to defeat a team that entered tonight’s tilt sitting fourth in the Western Conference at twelve games over .500.
Starters and Injuries
The Hawks played without DeAndre’ Bembry (groin) while the Timberwolves played without rookie center Justin Patton (toe).
Starting Lineup - Atlanta: PG Dennis Schroder, SG Kent Bazemore, SF Taurean Prince, PF Ersan Ilyasova, C Miles Plumlee
Starting Lineup - Minnesota: PG Jeff Teague, SG Jimmy Butler, SF Andrew Wiggins, PF Taj Gibson, C Karl-Anthony Towns
1st Quarter: Hawks 27, Timberwolves 32
The Hawks’ first quarter struggles this season have been marked by turnovers on the offensive end and an inability to get stops on the defensive end. Tonight, the T-wolves took an early 12-8 lead by scoring on six of their first eight possessions.
Meanwhile, the Hawks turned the ball over three time in their first seven possessions. However, two offensive put backs by Plumlee kept the Hawks close before back-to-back threes by Bazemore and Marco Belinelli pulled the Hawks even at 14-14.
The Hawks continued to turn the ball over with six turnovers resulting in 12 first quarter points for the T-Wolves. Three-point shooting (Atlanta 3/8, Minnesota 0/3) and offensive rebounding (Atlanta 4, Minnesota 1) kept the game from getting out of hand early as the quarter ended with the Hawks trailing by five.
2nd Quarter: Hawks 28, Timberwolves 26
With a stellar starting unit on the bench to start the second quarter, the Wolves reserves increased the lead to 40-34, making their first three shots of the quarter. The Hawks finally responded with four consecutive defensive stops before pulling within a point at 40-39 on an Ilyasova layup with 7:57 to play, forcing Timberwolves’ coach Tom Thibodeau to use a timeout to get his starters back into the game.
Following the timeout, the Hawks put together a quick 7-2 run versus the Minnesota starters forcing yet another Thibodeau timeout with the Hawks leading 46-42 with 6:05 remaining in the half.
After a Mike Muscala three-pointer increased the Hawks’ lead to 49-44, the Timberwolves found their rhythm while the turnover bug found its way back into the Hawks offense. The result was a 14-5 run for the visiting team giving the T-Wolves a 56-51 lead with 1:17 left in the quarter. Two Minnesota fouls inside the final five seconds of the half put Schroder on the line where he would make two free throws to close the half with the Hawks trailing 58-55.
Bazemore led the Hawks with ten first half points while Ilyasova added eight. Dewayne Dedmon and Malcolm Delaney scored eight and seven, respectively, off the Hawks bench. The Hawks finished the first half with ten turnovers that yielded 17 Timberwolves’ points. Again, three-point shooting (Atlanta 7/16, Minnesota 3/9) continued to offset the Hawks struggles with turnovers.
The T-Wolves were led by Butler, who scored 13, while getting nine points each from Wiggins, Gibson and Gorgui Dieng. Minnesota shot 11/12 from the free throw line in the first half compared to 4/4 for the Hawks.
3rd Quarter: Hawks 21, Timberwolves 21
The Hawks opened the second half with their starters except for Delaney taking the floor in place of Prince, who produced a scoreless first half with three fouls and a +/- of -16 in the box score. Still, the second act did not start well for the Hawks, who opened the half with three consecutive turnovers that allowed the Timberwolves to build the lead to 63-55 before Coach Budenholzer used an early timeout just 90 seconds into the period.
After the timeout, Prince replaced Bazemore, yet the Hawks turned the ball over for the fourth consecutive possession to start the half. After a Gibson bucket increased the lead to ten, Prince hit a three-pointer to finally break the Hawks into the second half scoring column with the Hawks trailing 65-58 with 8:26 to play in the period.
The offensive struggles continued for the Hawks while two baskets from Wiggins and one from Butler gave Minnesota their largest lead of the night at 11, prompting Budenholzer to use another timeout. The Hawks had been outscored 13-5 in the quarter through two-thirds of the third period.
Late in the quarter, the Hawks managed to get several stops while Bazemore scored seven consecutive points on three possessions and again pulled the Hawks within a point at 75-74. A jump shot from Wiggins ended the third quarter with the T-Wolves leading 79-76.
Once again, turnovers crippled the Hawks at nine turnovers in the quarter led to seven points for the Timberwolves. Once again, three-point shooting (Atlanta 3/11, Minnesota 1/3) and offensive rebounding (Atlanta 3, Minnesota 1) kept the Hawks in the game.
4th Quarter: Hawks 29, Timberwolves 21
After a turnover to open the fourth quarter, the Hawks finally started to play clean basketball on the offensive end. Back-to-back goaltending calls against Towns pulled the Hawks even at 84. Butler and Tyler Dorsey exchanged three pointers to again tie the game at 87 with 7:07 to play.
With the score tied at 90, Teague and Gibson each earned technical fouls but Schroder was only able to make one of two giving the Hawks a 91-90 lead with 5:45 remaining.
With three Hawks standing at the scorer’s table waiting to enter the game, the rookie Dorsey made another three to put the Hawks ahead 94-92 with 4:10 to play. The game finally had a stoppage with 2:45 remaining with Butler headed to the free throw line for two shots with Minnesota trailing 96-94. Butler made both free throws to tie the game.
Bazemore hit a transition three to give the Hawks a 99-96 lead with 2:09 to go. Thirty seconds later, he had an amazing chase down block of a Teague layup to keep the Hawks lead at one point, 99-98, with 1:27 left to play.
On the ensuing possession, the Hawks forced a turnover by Butler. The result was a fastbreak layup by Bazmore. He was fouled but could not convert the free throw for the three-point play. Still, the Hawks lead 101-98 with 1:12 to go.
After a Timberwolves’ timeout, Gibson collected an offensive rebound and put it back for two points while being fouled by John Collins. Gibson missed the free throw, blowing another opportunity for Minnesota to tie the game.
The next three possessions included a Schroder miss, Delaney forcing a T-Wolves turnover, and then another missed shot by Schroder. Minnsesota called a timeout trailing 101-100 with 14.5 seconds left.
Teague, who had struggled the entire night, was called for a five second violation after he failed to inbound the ball. After the Hawks inbounded the ball, Butler fouled Schroder and the officials went to replay to determine if the foul was flagrant.
The officials determined the foul was not flagrant and Schroder hit both free throws to put the Hawks up 103-100 with 11.3 to play. Butler missed a three-point shot, Schroder collected the rebound and was again fouled. He made both free throws to seal the victory at 105-100.
Bazmore led the Hawks with 22 points. Butler led the T-Wolves with 24.
The Hawks host the Hornets on Wednesday night to close out a stretch that included nine of ten games at home.