The Atlanta Hawks exhibited positive signs in a close-fought loss to the Toronto Raptors on Saturday evening. Less than 48 hours later, the Hawks aimed to capitalize on that upward trajectory against the Minnesota Timberwolves and, for a large portion of the night, Atlanta looked to be in position to do just that. In the end, though, the Wolves dominated the second half and the Hawks lost their seventh straight game, 125-113.
Defense was optional on both ends to open the game, with the Hawks and Wolves lighting up the scoreboard. Atlanta made six of their first eight shots (including a quartet of three-pointers) but Minnesota was even better, making their first seven shots on the way to a 15-10 lead.
Fortunately, Trae Young was on Atlanta’s side, and he knocked down a pair of preposterous three-pointers, including one that became a four-point play to tie the game at 17-17.
Is it OK to officially put Trae on triple-double watch after his first shot? I say 'yes' when it looks like this one: pic.twitter.com/ojJE5N07Lk— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) November 26, 2019
The rest of the first quarter belonged to the Wolves, though, with the visitors taking an eight-point lead after 12 minutes despite strong offense from the Hawks. The early portion of the second period was kinder, with the Hawks rattling off a 9-1 run behind more brilliance from Young.
Hello and welcome to The Trae Young School of Dance. pic.twitter.com/WZUJyYYmv7— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) November 26, 2019
The spurt wasn’t over there, with the Hawks reclaiming the lead (after a 19-4 overall run) behind passing wizardry from Young.
After another push to end the half, the Hawks took a 10-point lead into the break and the second quarter was one of the best in recent memory for Atlanta. The Hawks held the Wolves to 5 of 20 shooting (and 1 of 9 from three) on the way to a 34-16 advantage in the 12-minute period and, at the half, Young (21 points, seven assists) and Parker (14 points) led the way.
The start of the third quarter belonged to Young, as he accumulated 30 points in a hurry.
Trae has 30 points.— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) November 26, 2019
There are 17 minutes left in this basketball game. pic.twitter.com/36s8YYWqAR
Minnesota would respond, climbing back to a tie game at 87-87 on the back of an impressive third quarter showing from Karl-Anthony Towns, particularly on the offensive glass. While the Hawks did counter to retake the lead, the Wolves closed the third by scoring the final six points to claim a 93-90 advantage with 12 minutes remaining.
The start of the fourth quarter was relatively quiet (with help from an extended official review) but Damian Jones put together a highlight-reel blocked shot.
Please check to see if the ball is still properly inflated, please and thanks. pic.twitter.com/5rxL4KrhOq— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) November 26, 2019
The Wolves edged ahead from there, however, and Minnesota led by as many as 11 points in the early portion of the quarter. Atlanta did survive a stint without Young on the floor, playing dead-even with Minnesota with some help from Parker.
Still, the Hawks had a deficit to overcome and they weren’t able to do so. A sequence with back-to-back threes from Keita Bates-Diop and Andrew Wiggins extended the Minnesota lead to 13 points and essentially ended the game with less than three minutes remaining. Ultimately, the final margin of defeat settled at 12 points.
Young led the way for the Hawks, scoring 37 points, dishing out nine assists, grabbing six rebounds and knocking down five three-point field goals. Elsewhere, Parker had a strong offensive performance with 22 points, while Fernando enjoyed a career night with 13 points in reserve duty.
The Hawks will return to action on Wednesday evening with a difficult road test against the Milwaukee Bucks. Stay tuned.