NBA Game Summary - Minnesota at Atlanta
(Saturday, April 9th)
Final Score: Atlanta 105, Minnesota 98
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Tyronn Lue scored a game-high 23 points, including several clutch baskets in crunch times, as Atlanta put a huge damper on Minnesota's slim playoff hopes by defeating the Timberwolves, 105-98, at Philips Arena.
Lue led a balanced scoring attack that saw five other Atlanta players reach double-digits in scoring. Tony Delk came off the pine to chip in 18, while Josh Childress and Josh Smith each netted 14 points for the Hawks, who snapped a 14-game slide overall to win for just the third time in their last 33 games.
"This is a good win for us after losing 14 in a row," said Lue.
Royal Ivey added 10 points and Jason Collier contributed 12 for Atlanta, which also ended a 11-game home losing streak en route to its most impressive win of the season.
The Timberwolves wasted a brilliant performance by Kevin Garnett, who posted a double-double with 31 points and 12 rebounds. Garnett added seven assists for Minnesota, which now trails idle Memphis by four games for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with five games left on its schedule.
Latrell Sprewell and Michael Olowokandi each added 17 points in a losing effort.
"Tonight's game is a microcosm of our year," said Minnesota head coach Kevin McHale. "We were selfish on both ends of the floor defensively and offensively."
Minnesota got off to a quick start. Olowokandi's jumper staked the Timberwolves to a 13-6 lead with under eight minutes left in the opening frame. The lead would grow to 11, 27-16, on a short jumper by Olowokandi with under three minutes remaining in the frame.
The visitors would then carry a 30-23 lead after one quarter of play.
The Hawks, despite their dismal record, proved pesky in the second, pulling within a 52-51 score heading into the locker room.
However, Minnesota gained some breathing room in the third, as two free throws by Garnett, who ended a perfect 15-of-15 from the line, made it 74-65 at the 3:47 mark of the period.
Atlanta, though, refused to fold and closed the stanza on an 11-2 run to pull even at 76-76 after three quarters of play.
The home team's momentum continued in the fourth quarter. The Hawks would eventually take a 80-78 on Smith's jumper with around 10 minutes remaining in the contest. Atlanta's margin would grow to 84-79 moments later, but the home team was unable to pull away from a desperate Minnesota squad.
Two free throws by Garnett pulled the T-Wolves to within 97-96 with under two minutes to play, but Lue answered down at the other end with a quick layup. After Cassell missed a rushed three-point attempt on Minnesota's ensuing possession, Lue's bucket sealed the contest at 101-96 with 17 seconds to go and ensured the Hawks of just their 12th win of the campaign.
"He (Lue) was huge,"said Hawks head coach Mike Woodson. "It's a great win for our team here at home, in front of our fans playing a team that's fighting for a playoff spot. I have a great deal of respect for Minnesota. Our guys stood up and did what we had to do."
Entering the game, the Hawks last home win was on February 7...The Hawks are 3-12 in Saturday games this season...Atlanta improved to 9-29 at home...Minnesota is 41-36 after winning 58 games last season to earn the top seed in the West for the 2004 playoffs...The Timberwolves will next host Golden State on Wednesday, while Memphis host Charlotte on Sunday...Olowokandi grabbed 13 rebounds for the T-Wolves.
04/09 22:17:30 ET