Towns, Wolves close out Hawks in the 4th quarter

December 26, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS  -- Karl-Anthony Towns had 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Zach LaVine hit six 3-pointers to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 104-90 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night.

LaVine scored 21 points, Andrew Wiggins had 21 and was 4 for 6 on 3-pointers, and Towns was 8 for 8 from the field, including 3 for 3 from 3-point range. Minnesota hit a season-high 15 3s and led by as many as 29 points.

Dwight Howard had 20 points on 9-for-9 shooting and 12 rebounds for the Hawks in his return from a back injury. But Paul Millsap was just 2 for 13 from the field, and Atlanta's 19 turnovers led to 22 points by the Timberwolves.

After hanging on to beat a Hawks team minus Howard in Atlanta last week, there was no such suspense for the Wolves this time around. A 14-0 run in the third quarter included 3s by Wiggins, LaVine and Shabazz Muhammad for an 86-58 lead, and Minnesota never looked back.

The Timberwolves' overused starters got a much-needed light night on the second night of a back-to-back. Gorgui Dieng added 14 points and seven rebounds and was the only Minnesota starter to play more than 30 minutes.

Millsap missed 12 of his first 13 shots and also left the game briefly after being poked in the eye. He scored seven points.

The Hawks have wins over Houston, Cleveland, Toronto and Milwaukee (twice), but have lost to the Wolves and Lakers twice and the Suns and Magic as well.


Hawks: Tim Hardaway Jr. was a late scratch because of a groin injury after being listed as probable for the game. Hardaway warmed up before the game and felt it tighten up, so the Hawks played it safe. ... Kyle Korver returned after missing the previous game with an illness. He scored six points on 2-for-7 shooting.

Timberwolves: LaVine had his 12th career game with at least five 3s, second only to Kevin Love's 16 in franchise history. ... Cole Aldrich did not play for the second straight game. ... Ricky Rubio had 10 assists and zero turnovers and has played 67 minutes, 40 seconds since he last had a turnover.


The Hawks' big man missed the previous three games with tightness in his back, but made his presence felt early and often. He was so effective in the first quarter that coach Mike Budenholzer left him in the game even after picking up two quick fouls. Howard threw down a dunk off the glass on a pass from Dennis Schroder and scored the Hawks' first six points of the third quarter, all on putbacks off the offensive glass.

It was his 19th double-double of the season.


Hawks: Atlanta heads back home, where it is 7-7 this season, to take on the Knicks on Wednesday.

Timberwolves: Minnesota plays Wednesday at Denver, where the Wolves will face Nuggets rookie Jamal Murray, a player they considered with the fifth overall draft pick before selecting Kris Dunn.

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