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Atlanta, Ga: Kent Bazemore scored 22 points and made two game winning defensive plays to lead the Atlanta Hawks (15-35) to a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves (32-21).
Atlanta started out moving the ball which led to open shots getting open shots. When they didn’t make them, Miles Plumlee was there to get a put back on the offensive boards.
Plumlee had six early points and finished with six rebounds in 13 mintues. “[Plumee] “I like starting the game with him, he gives us good size and presence,” stated coach Budenholzer.
Minnesota Timberwolves were able to match them shot for shot. Taj Gibson scored nine points on 4-5 from the field.
Offensively, both teams were able to get good looks and stay in rhythm in a high scoring first quarter. Minnesota led 32-27.
The Hawks bench kept the fast pace going as they were able to get a couple of turnovers and turn them into points. Bazemore eight points in the second quarter led the Hawks to a 46-42 lead with under 6:00 left.
In the first eight minutes of the second quarter, it was basically whistle-free as there was only one foul called. In the last four, there were nine total fouls called. This helped Minnesota get back in the game.
Minnesota led 58-55 at halftime. Jimmy Butler scored nine of his 14 in the second quarter. He led the Timberwolves with 24 points. Bazemore led the Hawks with 10 points.
Third quarter woes bit the Hawks once again as careless turnovers allowed the Timberwolves to get to the rim at ease.
Minnesota sped the game up with fast break points and wide open three-pointers.
Atlanta closed out the quarter with a mini run which got them back with three 79-76.
As the game got tight, the defense of the Hawks allowed them to come back and take a 87-84 lead. “I thought that on the ball we were just a little better and our activity was a little better [in the second half],” stated Budenholzer.
Andrew Wiggins came back and hit a three-pointer to tie the game with 6:53 left.
At the 5:46 mark, a questionable charge was called on Jeff Teague and he argued and got a technical foul, Gibson also showed frustration and collected a technical foul himself. Atlanta only made one of the free throws.
Bazemore hit a go-ahead three-pointer with 2:01 left in the fourth quarter to put hem up 99-96. After a layup by Karl Anthony-Towns, Teague got a steal and drove down which looked to be an easy layup and Bazemore came from behind to block the shot.
With 1:13 left, Bazemore scored on a fast break and got the foul but missed the free throw attempt. With a chance to tie the game down by three, Minnesota failed to get the ball in bounds.
Dennis Schroder hit two clutch free throws to seal the game. “There were big time plays [on defense] and the offensive end we did a great job of executing,” said Dennis Schroder.
Atlanta shot 49.4% from the field and made 14 of their 16 shots at the line. Atlanta host the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday.