It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
There. I wrote it. I know it’s a cliché, but I’ve always wanted to use that line. And when you’re talking about the Timberwolves’ 117-107 victory in Atlanta Nov. 9, it applies. The Wolves came out on fire in that game playing what most would agree is the best half of basketball this season while building a 72-42 halftime lead against a Hawks team that had won seven straight.
Then the Hawks roared back, pulling within nine after a 42-21 third quarter and even taking a lead in the fourth before the Wolves finished the game on an 11-0 run to win. So, the Wolves played great, they played horribly, then they showed grit at the end. What does that game, in its entirety, tell them heading into tonight’s rematch with the Hawks at Target Center?
“It shows we have to finish,” rookie center Karl-Anthony Towns said. “The race is not over halfway, just because you have a great lead. We have to continue to play and finish the game the way we started. Don’t get lazy.’’
Tonight’s rematch will be interesting. The Wolves are coming off their first home win. The Hawks – who beat Boston by 24 at home Tuesday – will be finishing a back-to-back. But you have to figure Atlanta will have a lot for the Wolves tonight, considering how that game went in Atlanta a couple weeks ago.
They key will be to play like they did in the first half of that game, not the way they did to start the second. “To be up 30 in one half? It’s crazy,” said Zach LaVine. “We need to come out with that same aggression, that same concept.’’
Here are some other items from today’s shootaround:
--The players we talked to today said getting that first home victory – over Philadelphia Monday – was a big hurdle. “Yes, but we know we have to play really hard tonight. Because we just beat Atlanta on their home court. We know they’ll try to return the favor.’’
--It appears Nikola Pekovic is progressing in his rehab from surgery on his Achilles. Already doing some light running, Pek did some two-on-none drills with Ricky Rubio after the shootaround today.
Have a good rest of your day.