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News » ATLANTA 94, WOLVES 86


The mistakes caught up with the Timberwolves on Wednesday night against Atlanta.

So did the fatigue of playing on back-to-back nights, the Hawks' zone defense and just about everything else in a negative manner.

Even the team mascot whiffed on catching a Basketball during an early timeout.

Yet, as Minnesota has done so many times this season, it found a way to make the game close despite seemingly nothing going right.

Down by as many as 17 in the third quarter, the Wolves cut it to two with 1 minute, 4 seconds to play on an Al Jefferson free throw. However, Mike Bibby's three-pointer on Atlanta's next possession was too much to overcome, and the Hawks took a 94-86 victory.

With guard Joe Johnson (21.5-points-per-game average) left in Atlanta because of an illness, Bibby's 24 points led the way for Atlanta against a Wolves team that didn't get beyond 50 points until less than four minutes remained in the third quarter.

"It was one of them nights," said Jefferson, who led the Timberwolves with 18 points. "As bad as we played, we still put ourselves in a position to win the game. We fought back, but it was just one of them bad shooting nights."

"Bad" might be understating it a little bit.

The Wolves shot 36.4 percent, missing a fist-pounding number of wide-open shots, easy tip-ins and layups. Minnesota attempted a season-high 30 three-point shots but connected on just eight.

The Wolves also committed 18 turnovers a night after coughing the ball up a season-high 21 times at Indiana.

"We couldn't get anything going," coach Kevin McHale said. "It was just one of those funky nights right from the get-go. I don't know. It just seemed like we were missing some shots, missing some layups, missing opportunities."

What irked McHale most was Minnesota's tendency to hold on to the ball. His pleas for the team to "move the ball" echoed through Target Center's lower level.

"It was tough on us," guard Randy Foye said of the Hawks' zone defense. "But we just have to get ready and prepare for it in practice because we know it's not going to be our last time seeing it."

Intertwined in the dismal shooting night were some bright spots.

Kevin Love and Mike Miller combined to shoot 13-for-20 from the field, Love finishing with 16 points and 14 rebounds (nine offensive) starting in place of injured Craig Smith.

Rashad McCants also provided a spark. Playing for the first time since Jan. 7, McCants scored 10 points on 4-for-7 shooting in just 15 minutes, all in the second half.

However, mix in Sebastian Telfair's 0-for-9 night, a 1-for-10 effort from Ryan Gomes and a 4-for-19 display from Foye and it's easy to see how this one got away.

"Off the top of my head I can think of seven or eight or nine wide-open shots we missed," McHale said.



Mike Bibby, Atlanta

His three-pointer with 44 seconds remaining gave the Hawks a five-point lead. Bibby scored 16 of his 24 points in the second half.


12 Consecutive game that Rashad McCants stayed on the bench before Wednesday. He played for the first time since Jan. 7.

0 Shooting percentage for Sebastian Telfair, who finished 0-for-9 in 23 minutes.

0 Three-pointers for Ryan Gomes, ending a streak of eight games with at least one from beyond the arc.


Up next: 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Houston - Ch. 45 (1130-AM)

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: February 7, 2009


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