Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 1/26

Game 1: Wednesday, January 26th
Game 2: Saturday, April 9th

Hawks 87

(8-32, 2-16 away)

Timberwolves 104

(23-19, 12-8 home)

    7:00 PM ET, January 26, 2005

    Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

    1 2 3 4 T
    ATL 26 21 17 2387
    MIN 21 28 32 23104

    Top Performers

    Atl: A. Harrington 17 Pts, 12 Reb

    Min: L. Sprewell 32 Pts, 2 Reb, 2 Ast

    Spree scores 22 of his 32 in third quarter

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Latrell Sprewell has gotten over the flu, as he showed Wednesday night.

    Sprewell scored a season-high 32 points, including 22 in the third quarter, to lead Minnesota to a 104-87 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.

    "I was just making shots," said Sprewell, who was 5-for-8 from 3-point range. "One of those games when the ball was falling in and things came easy in the third quarter."

    Sprewell had a total of nine points and one rebound in the previous three games while battling the flu.

    "With the illness and everything, he's been frustrated," said Randy Wittman, who coached in place of Flip Saunders, who was home because of the flu. "But, Spree got it going tonight and we fed off him."

    "It's all about tonight and this game," said Sprewell when asked about his recent struggles. "To say how frustrated I was is really a moot point at this juncture."

    Kevin Garnett had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who have won four straight. Wally Szczerbiak added 18 points and Fred Hoiberg scored 12.

    Saunders missed the return of Sam Cassell, who came back from a hamstring injury to play for the first time since Jan. 7 and had four points and eight assists.

    "It was a good game for Sam," Wittman said. "Number one is, he didn't feel a twinge."

    "I feel great," Cassell said afterward. "I wanted to start tonight, it was their (coaches) decision."

    Al Harrington had 17 points and 12 rebounds and Antoine Walker scored 15 points for the Hawks, who have lost five of six and fell to 2-16 on the road. Tyronn Lue added 13 points and Tony Delk had 12.

    "We're going through some growing pains," Harrington said.

    "It's frustrating, but I'm in the ship right with them," said head coach Mike Woodson. "I've got to keep pushing and keep working because it's on me."

    Sprewell was 12-for-18 from the field and combined with Garnett for 28 of Minnesota's 32 points in the decisive third quarter when the Wolves extended a two-point lead to 17.

    "I'd like to see guys step up and take the challenge when a guy gets going," Woodson said. "We can't sit and beg for help."

    The score was tied 53-53 before Garnett hit two turnaround shots and Sprewell hit two 3-pointers and a jumper for a 12-0 run. The Wolves held Atlanta scoreless for nearly five minutes and led 81-64 at the end of the third. Atlanta did not get closer than 11 the rest of the way.

    "Sprewell's hot hand had a lot to do with it," Harrington said. "They ran one play and milked it."

    The Timberwolves trailed 26-21 after one quarter, and were still behind 31-27 with 8:47 left in the second when Cassell came off the bench to provide a spark.

    Cassell had missed the previous 10 games due to a strained right hamstring, but immediately hit a 12-footer before forcing a turnover on the Hawks' ensuing possession.

    "I'm sure he's been itching to take that shot for a long time," Wittman said.

    The Wolves took their first lead of the game, 42-41 when Hoiberg hit a 3-pointer and they took the lead again, 49-47, on Anthony Carter's runner at the halftime buzzer.

    Game notes

    Wittman compiled a 62-102 record coaching the Cleveland Cavaliers from 1999-2001 ... Saunders, in his 10th season with the Wolves, had never missed a game due to illness while posting a 408-319 record. He has been ejected five times, but not since Mar. 11, 2002. ... Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said Wednesday he doesn't expect to actively pursue any trades before the Feb. 24 deadline. "If there's something we see that will help our team, either this year or in the long run -- and it's probably more in the long run -- you would look at this thing," Taylor said. ... Woodson and Wittman played two seasons of basketball together at Indiana University.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 87 104
    FGM-FGA 34-80 (.425) 44-79 (.557)
    3PM-3PA 4-13 (.308) 9-22 (.409)
    FTM-FTA 15-21 (.714) 7-10 (.700)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 16-40 11-38
    Assists 19 35
    Turnovers 13 15
    Steals 4 9
    Blocks 2 4
    Fast Break Points 6 15
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 12 (1/0) 20 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 10 20

    Top Performers

    Al Harrington Harrington
    Points: 17
    Reb: 12
    Ast: 0
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Latrell Sprewell Sprewell
    Points: 32
    Reb: 2
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0