Atlanta Hawks vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
NBA: Wednesday, February 5, Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 8:00 PM ET
The Atlanta Hawks head to Target Center in Minneapolis on Wednesday night to close down their regular-season series with the slumping Minnesota Timberwolves. Back in November, the Hawks lost to the T-Wolves 125-113 as 4.5-point home underdogs, suffering their sixth defeat over the last nine encounters with Minnesota.
Atlanta sits bottom of the Eastern Conference alongside Cleveland, nine and a half games behind No. 8 seed. The Hawks will probably miss the playoffs for the third straight season. On the other side, the Timberwolves have been in the postseason only once in the last 15 years. They are the second-worst team in the West, trailing nine and a half games behind No. 8 seed. The T-Wolves are ice-cold, rolling on a 12-game losing streak.
The Hawks continue to play lousy defenseAtlanta is coming off a 123-115 home loss to the Boston Celtics this past Monday, suffering their second straight defeat. The Hawks had a two-point lead at halftime, but they lost the third period 35-22. There was no way back for the Hawks who failed to cope with the Celtics’ offense. Boston shot 53.3% from the field and 41.4% from beyond the arc, tallying 66 points in the paint and 22 fast break points. Furthermore, the Hawks lost the battle on the glass (44-32) and had a couple of turnovers more than their rivals. Trae Young led the Hawks with 34 points and seven assists, but he also turned the ball over a whopping nine times to match his career-high.
"There were a lot of times when I was jumping in the air and passing, expecting someone to be in the corner, and it just wasn't there," Young said. "I turned it over way too many times tonight. That's a big part of why we lost."
Trae Young is enjoying a wonderful season, averaging 29.2 points and 9.0 assists per game. However, the Hawks miss another ball-handler who can shoulder their offense when Young is on the bench or their rivals play some aggressive D on Trae. Also, the Hawks’ defense is a big issue. Atlanta surrenders 113.7 points per 100 possessions (28th in the league) on 47.6% shooting from the field (26th). Over their last six showings, the Hawks have been yielding 127.7 points per contest. Atlanta is without Alex Len (hip), Jabari Parker (shoulder), and Cam Reddish (concussion),
The T-Wolves extended their skid in CaliforniaThe Timberwolves’ agony continued on Monday when they lost at the Sacramento Kings 113-109. Minnesota trailed by 15 points at halftime, but the T-Wolves battled bravely in the second half to cut the deficit to two points with six minutes left on the clock in the fourth quarter. Still, they couldn’t pull off an upset, as the Kings shot the ball very well down the stretch. Karl-Anthony Towns led the way for Minnesota with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Shabazz Napier added 17 points and seven assists. Andrew Wiggins had a bad day in the office, finishing the game with just 10 points on 3-for-11 shooting from the field.
"We're scratching and clawing, and it's tough," Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders said. "It's not always positive. We're not in this for marginal victories, we're in this to improve."
Ryan Saunders can say whatever he wants, but his team is winless since January 9. There’s not a single sign of improvement, and the Timberwolves are undoubtedly one of the worst teams in the NBA this season. They score only 107.0 points per 100 possessions (22nd in the league) on 43.5% shooting from the field (27th) and 32.6% from downtown (29th). On the other side, the Timberwolves surrender 110.7 points (16th) on 46.5% shooting from the field (21st). They are without Jake Layman (knee) and Allen Crabbe (knee), but all their key players are ready to go.
The top supporting trends for this game, found on Oddsshark.com, are: Atlanta:
- 1-6 ATS in the last seven road games against the Western Conference
- 2-6-1 ATS in the last nine road tilts against the Northwest Division
- 3-11 ATS in the last 14 outings on the road
- 10-5-2 ATS in the last 17 games against Atlanta
- 4-2-1 ATS in the last seven home contests against Atlanta