Friday, January 28, 2022

Atlanta lights up the Timberwolves from deep as Minnesota drops to third straight

It looks like the Timberwolves have an obvious matchup problem – elite shooting teams light them up in depth.

Like Charlotte last week, Atlanta feasted on open triples at Target Center on Monday, scoring 25 for 49 for a 121-110 victory from 3-point range en route.

Minnesota’s only lead was 2-0.

The Hornets and Hawks entered the league as the top-two 3-point shooting teams on Monday.

The Wolves’ loss was their third in a row as they struggled to navigate the toughest part of their schedule so far. It doesn’t get easy on a Wednesday, when Utah comes into town.

The Jazz currently ranks sixth in 3-point shooting percentage.

As a product of the team’s offensive, fly-around defense, Minnesota has left a bevy of wide-open 3-point attempts throughout the season—often for the opponent’s third, fourth, and fifth offensive choices.

Wolves are always melee and recovering, so enough ball movement usually leads to an open triple. But for most of the season the opponents couldn’t connect with those open looks.

Teams like Atlanta (13-12) will almost always be there. There are always four or five shooters in the Hawks lineup. Eight different Atlanta players hit triples on Monday. Timothée Luvavu-Cabarot scored seven runs. Former Wolves center Gorgui Dieng scored 3 for 4 from deep. Hawks star guard Trai Young posted 29 points, 11 assists and six rebounds. Clint Capella had nine points, 16 rebounds, four blocks and four assists.

Minnesota (11-13) also took a good shot from deep – a welcome change from the norm this season. Wolves shoot from 43 percent deep. Malik Beasley scored 6 for 13 in triple tries on the way to 24 points. Anthony Edwards had 20 points and seven assists, but made just 6 for 19 from the floor, while Karl-Anthony Towns finished with 31 points and 16 rebounds.

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