Hawks-Timberwolves Preview

The Atlanta Hawks hope the experience gained from their recent losing streaks helps them keep this current one from getting out of hand.

Facing the Minnesota Timberwolves could help.

While the visiting Hawks look to continue their run of success against the Timberwolves, both teams will try to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat Wednesday night.

Atlanta (31-38) lost eight in a row and six straight during a 15-game stretch that preceded a season-high five-game winning streak. The Hawks have dropped three straight since that surge.

"We’ve been through some tough times, we’ll find a way," coach Mike Budenholzer said after Monday’s 102-95 loss to Phoenix.

"I think it’s a good opportunity to improve and continue to work, and for our group to find a way to be better for 48 minutes," he added. "Have more discipline and more execution. All the little things it takes to win games. It’s important we pay attention to that."

Though Atlanta is two games behind seventh-place Charlotte in the Eastern Conference, it’s trying to hold off New York for the eighth and final playoff spot.

The Hawks averaged 105.6 points while winning five of seven, but have failed to top 95 in the last two contests. They’ve also allowed 48.5 percent shooting in the last four games after holding their previous three opponents to 39.3, including 29.0 percent from 3-point range.

Phoenix shot 51.4 percent and went 12 of 24 from beyond the arc Monday.

"We’ve got to get back on track," said Hawks backup guard Lou Williams, who had 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting. "That’s the only goal."

Atlanta would appear to have a good chance to do so versus Minnesota (34-35), which has dropped two straight and 13 of 14 in the series. Though the Timberwolves snapped a five-game home skid to the Hawks with a 108-103 victory last season, Atlanta overcame 43 points and 19 rebounds from Kevin Love to win 120-113 on Feb. 1.

Tenth in the West, the Timberwolves’ playoff hopes grew slimmer after Monday’s 109-92 loss at Memphis. One night after blowing a 22-point lead during its 127-120 home defeat to the Suns, Minnesota never led and trailed by double-digits from the 3:27 mark of the first quarter.

"We just have to be competitive," forward Chase Budinger said. "That’s the biggest key right now – get through the end of the season and play each game competitively. That’s how you have to look at it."

The Timberwolves held an opponent to fewer than 122 points for the first time in four games, but their last three have shot 55.9 percent and the last 11 have hit on 50.8.

Love averaged 31.5 points in the previous four games, but had 16 on 6-of-18 shooting at Memphis after going 11 of 27 versus Phoenix. He’s totaled 73 points and made half of his 48 shots in his last two against the Hawks.

Atlanta’s Kyle Korver scored a team-high 24 and hit five 3-pointers versus Minnesota last month, but could miss his fourth consecutive game with back spasms.

Teammate Paul Millsap had 20 points and 13 rebounds in that victory over the Timberwolves.