The Atlanta Hawks came out on top 108-97 in the first meeting between these two sides. A combined 100-point performance by the Hawks starters ensured a smooth victory, and D'Angelo Russell alone couldn't do enough for the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves.
Fixture: Atlanta Hawks vs. Minnesota Timberwolves - NBA Season 2020-21
Date & Time: Friday, January 22, 2021 8:00 PM ET. (Saturday 6:30 AM IST)
Venue: Target Center, Minneapolis
Atlanta Hawks Preview
The Atlanta Hawks have improved this season after making some smart additions in the offseason, and have a 7-7 record at the moment. They are currently placed seventh in the Eastern Conference.
Clint Capela has established himself into a rebounding powerhouse for the team, averaging 14 points and 14 rebounds per game. Unlike some of the other teams in the league, Atlanta Hawks still rely heavily on their starters to do bulk of their scoring, with each of them averaging double digits for the season.
Key Player - Trae Young
Trae Young gets most of the credit for leading the Atlanta Hawks to a good start this season. The 22-year-old has developed into a floor general with an improved roster surrounding him. The start of the season was a little slow for him, as shot only 39% from the field.
Young also had an abysmal three-point shot at 29.5%, something that he has reduced on in the last two games attempting just five three-pointers each.
However, The 22-year-old seems to be quick learn, and after some inconsistency in the middle, he seems to have found his groove, putting up 28 points and 11 assists on average in the last three games.
Coming off a 38 point performance against the Pistons, Trae Young will be need to be instrumental if the Atlanta Hawks are to win on Friday.
Atlanta Hawks Predicted Lineup
Minnesota Timberwolves Preview
The Minnesota Timberwolves have had a forgettable season so far, and they are struggling to climb up the ladder in an already competitive Western Conference. With a 3-10 record so far, you could already say that their playoff hopes are hanging by a thread.
The Timberwolves took a heavy blow after Karl Anthony Towns contracted COVID - 19. Since then, they have been experimenting with their lineups, given that D'Angelo Russel, Malik Beasley, and Josh Okogie have been somewhat consistent so far in their production.
Naz Reid and Jarred Vanderbilt have been given starting roles over Ed Davis and Jarett Culver, respectively, something coach Ryan Saunders should continue with after their narrow one-point loss to the Orlando Magic.
Key Player - D'Angelo Russel
Despite the dip in form for the Minnesota Timberwolves, D'Angelo Russel continues to be the lone bright spot for the team.
The 24-year-old continues to pile up 21.4 points a night. He is also shooting 44% from the field and 41% from beyond the arc, a career-high in both those areas.
What makes Russel all the more critical in the upcoming match is that he faces the challenging task of guarding Trae Young. In the absence of Karl-Anthony Towns, Russel is under pressure to convert his excellent form into a team result.
Minnesota Timberwolves Predicted Lineup
G D'Angelo Russell, G Malik Beasley, F Jarred Vanderbilt, F Josh Okogie, C Naz Reid.
Hawks vs. Timberwolves Match Prediction
The Atlanta Hawks are favorites to clinch another victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. It should be easy for an Atlanta team, known for their offensive firepower to defeat a team that ranks fourth from the bottom in the NBA in defensive efficacy. It is unlikely the Timberwolves break their losing streak on Friday with a depleted roster.