The Atlanta Hawks took the floor on MLK Day afternoon against the Minnesota Timberwolves and, in short, the team needed a victory. While it wasn’t always a spotless performance, the Hawks took care of business, overcoming a season-high 26 turnovers in a 108-97 victory.
After a slow start, the Hawks found their footing in short order. Minnesota led 11-6 in the early going, but Atlanta reeled off 12 consecutive points, including a triple from Kevin Huerter and a beautiful lob from Trae Young to John Collins.
Atlanta wasn’t fantastic offensively, but the Hawks did the job in the first quarter, generating 11 assists to sustain positive production. Young had six assists on his own and, even without a field goal in the opening period, he left his mark on the proceedings.
With the bench on the floor to open the second quarter, the Hawks stalled a bit but, after Young and the starters returned, another run arrived. Young connected on a pair of three-pointers to jumpstart the push.
Those connections, combined with other contributions, gave the Hawks a 12-0 run to take a 13-point edge. The rest of the the half was less optimal in the grand scheme, but the Hawks did hold a seven-point lead after 24 minutes of action, and Young finished the first half with 13 points, nine assists and five rebounds.
Atlanta stumbled out of the locker room, kicking the ball around and allowing the Wolves to tie the game by scoring the first seven points. From there, things stabilized, with the Hawks putting together a 17-3 run to reclaim a double-digit advantage at 75-61 midway through the third period.
Tic-tac-toe passing ❌ ⭕️ pic.twitter.com/H1EEKf7tbK— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) January 18, 2021
There's a ball up there somewhere and JOHN COLLINS still got to it. pic.twitter.com/aCINl92Bhu— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) January 18, 2021
Atlanta’s lead dwindled to seven by the end of the third quarter, largely on the back of turnovers by the Hawks. Fortunately, the home team found its rhythm again in the fourth quarter, putting together an 11-2 run to take a 15-point lead with six minutes remaining.
The game wasn’t over, however, as the Wolves responded with an 11-2 spurt of their own to make things interesting. Atlanta managed to weather the storm, with help from a three-pointer by Huerter and a floater by Young, and the Hawks held on for an 11-point margin of victory.
As a team, the Hawks finished with 26 giveaways and, against a different opponent, those ball security issues may have been fatal. Alas, Atlanta managed to shoot the ball at a higher level than in recent days, converting 11-of-28 from three-point range, and the Hawks generated 32 assists.
Defensively, Atlanta did its job, particularly when the unit was set and not reacting to a live-ball turnover. Minnesota scored fewer than one point per possession, and it is difficult to ask for more from the Hawks on that end of the floor.
Individually, De’Andre Hunter was stellar on Monday afternoon, scoring a season-high 25 points on 8-of-17 shooting. He was flanked by double-doubles from Clint Capela (23 points, 15 rebounds) and Young (20 points, 13 assists, eight rebounds), and strong showings from Huerter (17 points, eight assists, seven rebounds) and Collins (15 points, seven rebounds and a career-best five blocks).
After a day off on Tuesday, the Hawks will return to State Farm Arena to host the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday.