ATLANTA – Atlanta is in rebuilding mode, but if you watched its 131-123 victory over the Timberwolves, you saw that the rebuild is on good footing with John Collins and Trae Young aboard.

The two were a handful for the Wolves to guard in the pick and roll and had 34 and 36 points, respectively.

Down the stretch the kept pace with the Wolves thanks to their ability to get easy baskets inside.

“They got great spacing when they run pick and rolls continuous every time down,” Wolves guard Tyus Jones said. “Trae is a playmaker. Collins is extremely athletic. Rolls hard to the rim every time. It’s tough, they put pressure on you every play and we just let them get into a rhythm and a flow and it was tough to get them out of that.”

Added Karl-Anthony Towns: “We made it tough, it was that simple. We made it tough on ourselves.”
Collins, especially, hurt the Wolves when it mattered most in the fourth quarter. He had 18 points on 8 of 9 shooting. Collins said he had a little extra juice when tangling with Towns. When asked if he had extra intensity on the floor Collins said, “Damn right.”

“Especially him being the head of the snake for them,” Collins said. “Definitely extra emphasis to try to go at him. ... I definitely turned it up a little bit."

Deng on the mend
Perhaps the game turns out differently for the Wolves if Luol Deng was able to finish. Deng left the game because a sore left Achilles. The good news for the Wolves is that Deng said it’s not more serious than that, considering a ruptured Achilles could sideline a player for an entire season. But Deng was unsure of his status for Thursday’s game against Indiana.

Wolves guard Josh Okogie played in front of about 35 friends and family. Okogie attended Georgia Tech and grew up in the Atlanta area.

He finished with 15 points on 4 of 9 shooting to go with four rebounds.