Slumping Wolves can’t stop streaking Hawks
ATLANTA (AP) — Al Horford isn’t missing many shots these days for the Atlanta Hawks.
Not that it would matter much if he did. The Hawks just keep winning.
"We always push each other to play hard," Horford said. "That’s why I feel like this group is a little different when it comes to that."
Paul Millsap scored 20 points and Horford added 19 to help Eastern Conference-leading Atlanta to a 112-100 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday night, extending the Hawks’ franchise record with their 16th straight win.
Jeff Teague finished with 15 points and seven of Atlanta’s 30 assists as the Hawks won for the 30th time in 32 games.
Thaddeus Young had 26 points and Mo Williams added 20 for Minnesota. The Timberwolves, who are last in the Western Conference, have lost four straight and 20 of 22.
The range of Horford, as a 6-foot-10 center-forward, is hurting opponents all over the court. He’s hitting long jumpers, occasional 3-pointers and scoring around the basket to cause matchup problems.
Horford missed just one of nine field-goal attempts and is shooting nearly 74 percent and averaging 18 points over his last seven games.
"I have a good rhythm right now and I’m taking open shots," Horford said. "My teammates are setting me up. It’s easy."
The Hawks took their first double-digit lead on Mike Scott’s three-point play at the 9:31 mark of the second quarter, and their biggest advantage was 18 on a 3 by Millsap late in the second.
Minnesota trimmed the lead to eight several times in the second half before pulling within six twice on Andrew Wiggins’ turnaround jumper and Young’s putback in the closing minutes.
But DeMarre Carroll and Kyle Korver hit consecutive 3s to push lead back up to 12, and Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders called timeout with 2:08 remaining.
Saunders said everything he had heard and seen regarding the Hawks turned out be legitimate.
"Until you are there and you play against it, you don’t really understand," Saunders said. "It took us almost a half to understand how good they really were. They’re the best combination offensive and defensive team we’ve played. The second half we went out, we competed. That’s all I can ask."
Young was pleased to get to play as a swingman, thus getting more freedom on offense, when Saunders used a bigger front line.
"It gives me an opportunity to see the floor, being on the wing," Young said. "You can see the guys cutting and see the whole floor so it’s easier to make plays."
Korver and Carroll combined for 27 points, nine rebounds and six assists.
Nikola Pekovic had 15 points and Wiggins added 12 for Minnesota.
Millsap went 8 for 12 from the field and finished with five rebounds, six assists, four steals and one turnover.