It’s fun when your team makes threes.
We were reminded of that tonight when the Wolves made 15 of 31 from beyond the arc and ran away from the Hawks in the third quarter.
In the first half, Zach LaVine and Karl-Anthony Towns were hot from downtown while the Wolves limited the damage the Hawks could do offensively by allowing only two free throw attempts. In the third Quarter, Andrew Wiggins took his turn making long jumpers, with three of his four three-point makes in that stanza. The Wolves used that surge to extend a nine point halftime lead to one that reached 24 by the end of the period, making the fourth quarter academic.
It can be hard to tell how well a team plays overall when they light it up from three point land, but in addition to the shooting, there were other positive signs for the Wolves. They held the Hawks to 42 percent from the field and forced 19 turnovers. Two of their key offensive cogs were held in check: Paul Millsap went 2-13 from the field and finished with seven points, while Dennis Schroder went 4-10 and finished with eight. Without those two, Atlanta struggled to find consistent production. Dwight Howard made all nine of his shots and finished with 20 points, and Thabo Sefolosha made some threes the Wolves were willing to concede in the first half, but the Hawks could not find anything consistent on the offensive end.
Towns was also perfect from the field tonight, making all eight of his attempts (three from beyond the arc) to lead the Wolves with 22 points. LaVine and Wiggins each had 21 as these three, as usual, were the top scorers for the Wolves.
LaVine has been on fire from three for the better part of two weeks now, shooting over 50 percent in the last eight games. Wiggins had been struggling badly from long range until tonight when he made four of six following a quiet first half.
The ball movement seemed better tonight than it has for the last few games, though made shots can make it look better than it is. Still, the Wolves had 26 assists on 37 made shots, and all five starters had multiple dimes on the night.
It’s just good to get a win after the last couple of disappointments, and good to see them show energy on the second night of a back to back against a rested team.
I’m especially pleased because most of the Canis writing staff was in attendance tonight, and I’m happy the Wolves could send them to the bar with a win.
- This is the Wolves fourth straight win over the Atlanta Hawks. Voodoo has cursed them, apparently. If only he’d use those powers for good.
- Gorgui Dieng finished with a tidy 14 and seven and after a few misses to start the game from mid-range, found his touch later.
- This was Ricky Rubio’s second consecutive ten assist, zero turnover game.
- Dwight Howard can still dominate the paint—20 and 12 in 21 minutes without a miss from the field, but somehow it isn’t translating to winning stretches for his team.
- Cole Aldrich is now out of the rotation. Another DNP-CD. Thibs played only eight guys while the game was in any sort of doubt; Jordan Hill and Tyus Jones got a few minutes at the end.
- The Wolves outscored the Hawks 66-40 over the middle two quarters, and won the third 35-20 in one of their best third quarter performances of the season.
- Next up for the Wolves are the Denver Nuggets in Denver on Wednesday.