Wolves find shoe on other foot as temp player rallies Hawks

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 22, 2013 - 9:21 AM

Hours after signing a 10-day contract, Jannero Pargo rallied Atlanta from 18 down.

ATLANTA - What's that they say about turnabout and fair play?

On Saturday, the Timberwolves rode the energetic debuts of Chris Johnson and Mickael Gelabale to a victory over Houston at Target Center.

On Monday morning, Atlanta signed veteran guard Jannero Pargo to a 10-day contract. Then he went out that afternoon in a Martin Luther King Day matinée and delivered a decisive performance in the Hawks' comeback 104-96 victory over the Wolves at Philips Arena.

The Wolves signed their two newcomers Saturday morning after injuries to Nikola Pekovic and Alexey Shved pushed the team's list of sidelined players to six.

The Hawks signed Pargo after they learned scorer Lou Williams tore his anterior cruciate knee ligament in Friday's loss at Brooklyn and is done for the season.

Atlanta trailed by 18 in the second quarter, before Pargo made all four of his three-pointers and scored 14 of his 16 points off the bench in the fourth quarter. The Hawks won running away from a Wolves team that now has blown at least an 11-point lead nine times this season.

"To play the way we did in the first half and the way we did in the second half," Wolves forward Derrick Williams said, "that's two different teams."

They have done this before in a season when third quarters seem to be particularly problematic.

Monday, Atlanta coach Larry Drew made his halftime adjustments, forcing the Wolves to play to his mismatches rather than the other way again.

The same coach who altered his starting lineup by inserting John Jenkins for Kyle Korver at shooting guard to counter the Wolves' two point-guard backcourt went back to the bigger Korver to start a third quarter after the Hawks trailed by 14 at halftime.

Korver made consecutive threes in a 10-0 run that started the second half and the Hawks were off, riding a comeback fueled by the outside shooting of Korver and Pargo as well as the inside presence of center Al Horford, who provided 28 points and 10 rebounds on a day when Pekovic was back in Minnesota because of a bruised thigh.

Trailing 58-44 when the third quarter started, the Hawks had tied the score at 69-69 before the next nine minutes were gone.

"Like I've been saying all year, the third quarter is killing us and it did again," said Williams, whose team now has lost six of its past seven games.

The Wolves finished the third quarter with an 8-1 run that pushed their lead back to seven after three quarters and to nine very early in the fourth.

Then the Hawks once again intensified their defense and Pargo took over on both ends of the floor, disrupting the Wolves with his defense and beating them with his shooting.

"He came in and really kind of changed the game with those shots," Wolves guard Luke Ridnour said.

Pargo, 33, hadn't played an NBA game in two months, since Washington waived him Nov. 15. He worked out for the Hawks on Sunday, signed on Monday morning and became their game-changer on a holiday afternoon -- just like Johnson and Gelabale had done for the Wolves on Saturday night.

He played the entire fourth quarter, like Johnson and Gelabale did Saturday, and 25 minutes in the game.

"I know he's not in real basketball shape, but he passed the test today," Drew said. "I didn't intend to play him that many minutes, but he got into a groove and a rhythm. That's what he's capable of doing."

  • ATLANTA 104, WOLVES 96

    Up next: 7 p.m. Wednesday vs. Brooklyn • TV: FSN

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