ATLANTA (AP) -- The Minnesota Timberwolves need a remarkable
winning streak to revive their playoff hopes. The Hawks made sure
it didn't start in Atlanta.
Tyronn Lue scored 23 points, including 12 straight in the fourth
quarter, and Atlanta beat Minnesota 105-98 Saturday night to end a
14-game losing streak and deal the Timberwolves a devastating blow.
"It's a loss. It's a major loss. It don't look too good," said
Timberwolves guard Sam Cassell, who shot 1-for-8 and scored only
two points. "We're just going to try to keep winning and cross our
Kevin Garnett had 31 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists for
Minnesota (40-37), who fell four games behind eighth-place Memphis
in the race for the final playoff spot in the West.
With five games remaining, the Timberwolves aren't officially
done. They can still sneak into the postseason if they win out and
the Grizzlies (43-32) lose six of their last seven.
"We have no one to blame beside ourselves," Timberwolves coach
Kevin McHale said. "Tonight's game is a microcosm of our year. We
were selfish on both ends of the floor, defensively and
The Hawks, meanwhile, are trying to win consecutive games for
the first time this season.
"We haven't won two (straight) all year, and that's something
we are going to push between now and gametime on Monday," Atlanta
coach Mike Woodson said.
With the game tied at 76 entering the fourth, Lue scored 14
points in the final period to spark the upset. He was 9-of-12 from
the field, including a 3-pointer, and 4-of-4 from the free throw
"I guess it was the best quarter I ever had," Lue said. "I
was able to get some good looks and knock them down."
Lue's run of 12 straight points began with a basket with 5:30
left to give Atlanta a 91-85 lead and ended with 17.3 seconds left
on a short jumper for a 101-96 lead.
"He was huge," Woodson said. "It's a great win for our team
here at home, in front of our fans playing a team that's fighting
for a playoff spot."
Atlanta hadn't won since March 11 at Toronto and had dropped 27
of its last 28 games. The Hawks' last home victory was Feb. 7
against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Michael Olowokandi added 17 points and 13 rebounds, and Latrell
Sprewell had 17 points for Minnesota.
The Timberwolves took a 76-67 lead with 2:52 left in the third
period on a pair of free throws by Garnett before the Hawks ran off
the last nine points of the quarter -- four by Ivey.
Minnesota led by as many as 13 points in the opening quarter,
but the Hawks narrowed it to 52-51 at the half, then took their
first lead of the game on a basket by Collier to start the third
A basket by Sprewell with 4:25 left in the first quarter gave
Minnesota a 25-12 lead, its biggest of the game.
Atlanta placed center Obinna Ekezie on the injured list and
signed free agent forward James Thomas for the remainder of the
season. ... The Timberwolves have disappointed after finishing with
the best record in the Western Conference last season. ... Garnett
was 8-of-14 from the field and 15-of-15 at the free throw line
during his 67th double-double of the season, best in the league.