(Sports Network) – The Atlanta Hawks have fallen on hard times since their 6-0 start to the season and will try to halt a four-game losing streak when they close out a three-game homestand today versus the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Hawks were pegged by many to have another strong season and proved the pundits right by winning the first six games on the 2010-11 schedule. Now they’re just trying to hold onto a lead and hope to save face at Philips Arena, where Atlanta dropped a 90-86 decision versus Utah on Friday.
Joe Johnson recorded 23 points and Josh Smith chipped in 20 and 13 boards for the Hawks, who shot 49.3 percent and got 14 points from top reserve Jamal Crawford.
“They did a great job. They came up with key offensive rebounds and they made some key plays,” Johnson said of the Jazz. “Down the stretch we didn’t come up with the big plays and didn’t get the offensive rebounds.”
Hawks forward Marvin Williams returned from a bone bruise in his right knee that caused him to miss four games. He recorded five points on just 2-of-8 shooting in a losing cause.
Atlanta is 2-3 as the host this season and went 34-7 in Dixie last year. It has dropped three in a row at home.
Timberwolves big man Kevin Love is coming off an extraordinary performance in which he single-handedly carried his team to a 112-103 victory versus New York on Friday. He ended with 31 points and 31 rebounds, an accomplishment something no player has done since 1982.
Love’s 30-30 night was the first in the NBA since Moses Malone turned the trick 28 years ago, and his 31 rebounds set a franchise record for the Timberwolves, who were down by as many as 21 points. Minnesota outrebounded New York by a 56-43 margin and scored 48 points in the paint.
“I just got in a good mindset that every single one was mine,” Love said.
Michael Beasley, fresh off a career-high 42-point game, added 35 points in Minnesota’s second straight win following a six-game losing streak. Rookie Wesley Johnson posted 15 points in the win.
The T’Wolves, who will also visit Charlotte on their quick two-game road swing, will not have guard Wayne Ellington for today’s game because of a bruised left thigh. The former first-round pick in 2009 has missed three straight games.
Atlanta already defeated Minnesota, 113-103, on November 5 this season at the Target Center. Smith scored 20 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out six assists to lead the Hawks to their ninth straight win in this series.
Minnesota is winless in its last seven visits to Philips Arena.