Video: Pierce Discusses Loss to Timberwolves
The Hawks lost their seventh game in a row Monday night to the Minnesota Timberwolves, 125-113, sinking the team to 4-13 on the season. Atlanta has now dropped 13 of its last 15 contests and is now tied with the New York Knicks for the worst record in the Eastern Conference.
"Bad loss" was the entirety of a dispirited Lloyd Pierce's opening statement to the media after the game, and the head coach lamented his team's lack of effort in the second half. The Hawks were inconsistent and discombobulated defensively, which fed into issues on the other end of the floor. Atlanta turned the ball over on 17 percent of its possessions and allowed Minnesota easy kickout 3s throughout the second half.
"The lack of discipline on a lot of our defensive possessions that got us in trouble," Pierce said. "A lot of the made 3s down in the fourth quarter. Blitzing KAT in the second half wasn’t the plan, and because there were some cross-matches, guys just overreacted to the situation and we got caught."
Minnesota ripped off a 71-49 scoring advantage over the final 24 minutes, tightening up on both sides of the ball. Though Trae Young dominated the first half and finished the game with 37 points and nine assists, the Wolves held him to just two assists in the second half, which helped slow the rest of Atlanta's offense. Cam Reddish and De'Andre Hunter, who had played so well in his last four games, looked like rookies.
For Minnesota, Karl-Anthony Towns (28 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists) and Andrew Wiggins (25 points, six rebounds) played to their standards, and the Hawks had no answer for Towns late. The Wolves scored 1.2 points per possession and posted a 55.1 effective field goal percentage -- enough to pull ahead in the third quarter and extinguish all hope of an Atlanta comeback.
"We just need to win a game," Pierce said. "We need to be able to put together a 48-minute game, and once we do that I think everything will settle back in."