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Hawks fight hard but fall to Minnesota, 126-114

The offense showed up. The defense did not.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Minnesota Timberwolves Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Defense was entirely optional in Minneapolis, where the Hawks were able to put up 114 points on the Timberwolves but gave up 126 on the other end, including a career-high 56 from Minnesota star Karl-Anthony Towns. The hosts scored 28 or more in all four quarters, but the Hawks were able to stay in it with their own offense, which included six players in double figures for Atlanta and three above 20. The Hawks put together a run to bring it within six late in the fourth quarter, but Towns and co. were too much for the young Atlanta team.

Towns was absolutely dominant over Atlanta all night, hitting six of his eight three-pointers and 13-of-24 from inside the arc. Minnesota ran most everything through their young star and he produced magnificently, showing Atlanta and the rest of the league just how special he is. Towns added 15 boards and four assists to round out the best night of his NBA life.

For the Hawks, it was Mike Muscala who paced the team in scoring with a career-high 24 from the Minnesota native playing in front of family and friends. Muscala hit four of his six threes and was perfect from inside the arc and at the line to get to the first 20-point game of his career.

The Hawks were on fire from deep throughout the night, shooting 13-for-27 on the night, including 4-for-5 from Taurean Prince, who continues his scoring rampage in Kent Bazemore’s absence. Atlanta stayed consistent in their offensive philosophy of late, giving Prince the keys to the car on a lot of possessions. His play was up-and-down against Minnesota: 21 points and seven assists, but seven turnovers to go with it. Starting point guard Isaiah Taylor chipped in another five turnovers as the Hawks committed 20 in total, their eighth game with at least 20 this season. Atlanta now falls to 2-6 in those games.

Rookie sensation John Collins had his hands full with Towns tonight and only played 24 minutes in this one, mostly due to the outstanding play of Muscala. Collins has shown some good things defensively in the past month or so, but an all-around offensive force like Towns is too much for the youngster at this point in his career.

The Hawks complete their six-game road trip and return home on Friday to face off with the playoff-bound Philadelphia 76ers at Philips Arena.