Amid a healthy dose of trade deadline news, the Hawks (14-38) still had a game to play. Despite a fourth-quarter surge from the Timberwolves (15-35), they held on for a 127-120 win Wednesday night.
Below are some takeaways from the win:
1. This game followed the news that the Hawks were part of a four-team trade that brings Houston center Clint Capela to Atlanta, giving up little-used Evan Turner, a 2020 first-round pick (both of which go to Minnesota) and a 2024 second-round pick (which goes to Houston). After Wednesday’s win, the trade was finalized and the Hawks made it official. They also waived Chandler Parsons, who played sparingly this season and had been out since being injured in a car accident last month, to free up roster space. Midway through the fourth quarter, they made another move, trading Jabari Parker and Alex Len to Sacramento in exchange for center Dewayne Dedmon and two second-round picks. It’s been a busy trade season for the Hawks so far, with the trade deadline approaching at 3 p.m. Thursday.
2. After leading by as much as 21 points, the Hawks nearly blew it at the end after giving up 43 points in the fourth quarter and letting the Timberwolves creep back in the game. The Wolves cut the Hawks’ lead all the way down to five, 122-117, after a dunk by Josh Okogie with 48 seconds left on the clock. On their ensuing possession, the Hawks worked the ball around, with John Collins passing to Kevin Huerter who hit Vince Carter in the corner for a 3-pointer that effectively sealed the win. “Couldn’t ask for a better person to take an open shot in the clutch,” said Collins, who finished with 27 points and 12 rebounds in his fifth consecutive double-double. “Stepped right into it. He was ready for it. I think he wanted that shot, you could tell, with the look on his face. He stepped right into it and did what he does.” That was the only bucket of the night for Carter, but it came at a much-needed time.
3. The Hawks led by 12 after getting off to a fast start, shooting 66.7% from the field in the first quarter. The Timberwolves never really challenged for the lead until that run in the fourth, and the game looked like a blowout, with the Hawks stretching to an 85-65 lead at the 5:59 mark of the third quarter. All five Hawks starters finished with double-digit points, and Trae Young led the way with 38 points (10-23 FG, 6-13 3-point range, 12-13 FT), to go with 11 assists. “I thought our guys were OK in the first half. … I thought we were moving the ball excellent,” Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said. “In that first quarter, one of the things we did, we got a lot of stops and we (were able to) limit them to just one shot.”
4. Both teams had trouble maintaining possession. With 19 turnovers (and the Timberwolves capitalizing for 23 points), the Hawks did themselves no favors. But they weren’t alone, as the Wolves had 16 turnovers, with the Hawks capitalizing for 26 points. Although the Hawks were able to withstand those mistakes, including four turnovers in the fourth quarter and allowing the Wolves 13 steals, it made the game closer than it would have been otherwise. “Anytime you get a win in the NBA, it’s good, so we’ll take the win,” said Young, who turned it over three times. “But we didn’t finish out the game the way we should have. A lot of that falls on me and getting everybody in their spots and just taking care of the ball. We’ve just got to be better at taking care of the ball late in the game.”
5. After missing back-to-back games with a left ankle sprain, rookie wing De’Andre Hunter returned to action, adding 12 points and five rebounds in a little under 30 minutes (he was a bit rusty, with five turnovers, and was operating on a 30-minute restriction). Rookie center Bruno Fernando, who had missed four games with a left calf strain, was also available, though he was only able to play for about seven minutes before leaving the game (he was on a 12-minute restriction, per Pierce, but had to cut it short). Fernando didn’t re-injure anything, per the team. The Hawks have been particularly shorthanded, so getting Hunter back is big.
By the numbers
25.7% (or 9-for-35, what the Hawks limited the Wolves to from 3-point range)
“Our fourth quarter was sloppy, gave up 43 points, turned the ball over the way we did, but at this point, we’ll take the win. Good team win, good road win.” (Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce)
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