Reeling Timberwolves, Hawks clash in Atlanta | Inquirer Sports
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Reeling Timberwolves, Hawks clash in Atlanta

/ 04:15 PM January 18, 2021
Karl Anthony Towns Wolves NBA

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) in action in the first quarter against the San Antonio Spurs at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks and Minnesota Timberwolves could both use a win. They could also use a clean bill of health before they meet in Atlanta on Monday afternoon.

The Hawks have lost two straight and six of their last seven games. Atlanta had its game at Phoenix postponed on Jan. 11 because of COVID-19 concerns with the Suns.

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The Timberwolves have lost eight of their last nine. Of more concern is the lack of players because of COVID. Minnesota had its game against Memphis postponed on Friday because it could not field the league-required eight players for the game due to contact tracing within the organization.

Minnesota star Karl-Anthony Towns, who is averaging 22.0 points and 12.5 rebounds, announced he had tested positive on Friday. The Timberwolves will also be without Juan Hernangomez, who has entered the 10-day isolation period, and could be without Ricky Rubio.

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“It’s just a weird thing because when a guy gets it, some people are mad or they’re angry at the person,” said Minnesota’s Ed Davis. “But they could have been doing all the right things. You’ve got some people being irresponsible. It’s just one of those things if someone gets it, just try to protect yourself and protect your family as much as possible. But, like I said, sometimes you just can’t avoid it. It just happens.”

The Hawks had their game with Phoenix postponed because of contact tracing issues with the Suns. Atlanta had a member of its traveling staff test positive, but none of the players or coaches.

“We have to be comfortable in an uncomfortable year and setting,” Atlanta coach Lloyd Pierce said. “This is all a part of it. Nothing will be new to us, I don’t think. I think it may be an adjustment, but I think we’re expecting everything that is going to come our way and has come our way.”

Atlanta’s personnel problems are injury related.

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Atlanta played without Cam Reddish in Saturday’s 112-106 loss to Portland, the team’s final stop on a scheduled three-game West Coast road trip. Reddish had a left knee contusion. He scored 20 points on Friday at Utah and has topped 20 points in two of his last three games.

The absence of Reddish stressed the bench, which is without Bogdan Bogdanovic and Danilo Gallinari because of injuries and with Rajon Rondo and Tony Snell playing limited minutes.

Atlanta’s Trae Young played through some back tightness on Saturday and had 26 points and 11 assists in 39 minutes.

The Hawks have gotten stellar play from center Clint Capela, who had a season-high 25 points and 15 rebounds on Saturday. It was his third straight double-double and sixth of the season. He has nine straight games with at least 10 rebounds.

It will be a homecoming for Minnesota’s Josh Okogie, who grew up in the Atlanta suburbs and played two seasons at Georgia Tech. Okogie averages 6.6 points.

Atlanta and Minnesota split two games last year, each winning on the road. The Timberwolves have won three of the last five meetings in Atlanta after losing 13 straight as visitors dating back to 2002.

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TAGS: Atlanta Hawks, COVID-19, Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves, NBA, pandemic
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