After a loss to the Boston Celtics on Monday, the Atlanta Hawks were busy off the court in advance of the trade deadline, headlined by the reported acquisition of Clint Capela. Still, the team was also on the road for a two-game trip and, on Wednesday, that meant a match-up against Karl-Anthony Towns and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Before tip-off even arrived, the Hawks received reinforcement from a roster perspective — including the return of De’Andre Hunter — and Atlanta was in control from start to finish in what became a 127-120 victory on the road.
The Hawks opened the night with a lob dunk on the first trip and, in short order, it became clear that was a positive sign for the rest of the evening.
In fact, Atlanta would continue to generate easy buckets in the lob game, with myriad dunks throughout the first half.
The Hawks built a 12-point lead after the first quarter, with Jeff Teague providing a throwback highlight in the form of a chase-down block.
Early in the second quarter, the visitors pushed the lead to 15 on a three-pointer from John Collins, who was masterful for the majority of the night.
In some ways, the rest of the first half was disappointing for Atlanta, as the Wolves climbed back within eight points after the Hawks cooled from a shooting perspective. Lloyd Pierce’s team still performed well in the aggregate, though, with Collins and Trae Young performing at an explosive level.
On an unfortunate note, Bruno Fernando was ruled out for the remainder of the game during the halftime break. Fernando was playing for the first time in February as a result of a calf injury and, while the Hawks stressed that it wasn’t a re-injury per se, it wasn’t ideal to see the rookie big man battling the same issue.
Back on the court, the Hawks did play quite well in the early portion of the third quarter, using a 19-5 run to build a 20-point advantage.
The remainder of the third quarter was less inspiring but, as the closing period arrived, the Hawks held a 19-point advantage that put them in an exceptionally favorable position. While the fourth quarter almost became a secondary story in light of a trade involving Dewayne Dedmon coming to light, Atlanta did have to fight off Minnesota in the closing minutes. In fact, the Wolves climbed within a five-point margin with 48 seconds to go but, in the end, the Hawks did enough to hold on for the victory.
While there were strong peripheral contributions from players like Kevin Huerter and Brandon Goodwin, Young and Collins were the explosive performers on this night. Young finished with 38 points (including six three-pointers) and 11 assists, with Collins adding 27 points, 12 rebounds and impressive defensive impact.
After leaving Minneapolis, the Hawks will navigate the trade deadline on Thursday afternoon before the team returns to on-court action on Friday night in Boston.