ATLANTA –The Timberwolves’ bench scored 46 points in a 125-113 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night at State Farm Arena.
Karl Towns put the game on his shoulders in the third quarter when he scored 15 of his 28 points to go with 13 rebounds and eight assists.
Jeff Teague came off the bench and Gorgui Dieng helped lead the Wolves on the defensive side of the ball on the night as they erased a double-digit third-quarter deficit and turned it into a win
Teague had eight points and eight assists. Reserves Keita Bates-Diop and Gorgui Dieng each scored 13.
”Gorgui was amazing. When he’s given the opportunity, he goes out and makes magic happen,” said Karl-Anthony Towns, who was a force to be reckon with in the second half. ”Jeff (Teague) is just a pro. He’s an amazing guy to have in the locker room.”
Dieng had 13 points, including going 3-for-3 from three-point range, and changed a lot shots on the blocks.
The Wolves tried a new look for their starting lineup, with coach Ryan Saunders shifting Teague to the bench and starting Jarrett Culver (14 points) with Andrew Wiggins (25 points) as the primary ballhandler. It was a move Saunders made after a few discussions recently with Teague, who was ok with his new role on the team.
“I thought it was best for the team with all the injuries we have right now,” Teague said. “With Jake Layman being out, with Shabazz Napier being out I’m just trying to give us something off the bench.”
The Timberwolves shot 63.6% in the first quarter and opened a 40-30 lead early in the second, but missed 15-of-19 shots over the rest of the period.
Trae Young scored 37 points for the Hawks, who outscored Minnesota 34-16 in the second quarter. But the T-Wolves had 38 points in the first quarter, 39 points in the third quarter and 32 in the fourth against one of the NBA’s worst defensive teams and snapped a two-game slide.
Towns went out in the third, Minnesota held in check Trae Young to just three points the rest of the quarter. That turned an 87-82 deficit into a 91-90 lead headed into the fourth.
Karl-Anthony Towns got hot after the break to pull the Timberwolves back into the game. In the third quarter alone, he had 15 points, eight rebounds and three assists to help Minnesota take a 93-90 lead to the fourth quarter.
”We had a lot of undisciplined play,” said Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce. ”We were leaving strong-side shooters open, we were double-teaming in the post when we weren’t in that coverage. It was the lack of discipline on a lot of our defensive possessions that got us in trouble.”