ATLANTA (AP) — Kyle Korver said Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer “laid into us” at halftime.
The response from Korver and the Hawks, especially in the third quarter, earned postgame praise from the first-year coach.
Korver scored 24 points, including a trio of 3-pointers in a third-quarter stretch that gave Atlanta the lead, and the Hawks overcame Kevin Love’s 43 points to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 120-113 on Saturday night.
Korver hit each of his four shots and had 12 points in the third, when the Hawks outscored the Timberwolves 38-21.
“I thought the guys responded,” Korver said. “Obviously, it was a great third quarter for us. Hopefully he doesn’t have to talk to us like that all the time. It worked tonight.”
Budenholzer said defense sparked Atlanta’s comeback from an 11-point deficit in the second period.
“I think the third quarter tonight was something we can reference going forward on how we want to play, particularly defensively, to hold them to 21 points in a quarter with the way they can score,” Budenholzer said.
Budenholzer said guard DeMarre Carroll, who had 19 points, “set a defensive tone for us and I think everybody else follows that.”
Paul Millsap, guarded by Love much of the night in a matchup of All-Stars, had 20 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out late in the game.
Even with the dominant third quarter, the Hawks had to hold on late.
A jam by Minnesota’s Corey Brewer with 2:55 remaining cut Atlanta’s lead to 107-104. Jeff Teague, who had 19 points, drove for a layup and Carroll’s free throws pushed the lead to seven points.
Love’s 3-pointer again trimmed the margin to three before Atlanta’s Gustavo Ayon banked in an unlikely scoop shot to thwart the comeback attempt.
Love, who grabbed 19 rebounds while playing with a sore left ankle, had 21 points in the final period and finished two points shy of his season high.
“I didn’t even know I had (43) to be honest,” Love said. “I think (Kevin Martin) told me after the game. I was just trying to get us back in the game by any means. My teammates set me up with a lot of good shots but, yeah, a loss right now, it’s just tough.”
Love said the Timberwolves missed center Nikola Pekovic, who sat out his third straight game with bursitis in his right ankle. Pekovic could have been especially important against the undersized Hawks.
“To not have Peck in a game like this, really the last (three) games, it’s really tough, just because he takes up so much space,” Love said. “You’re having to make up for 20 points and 10 rebounds.”
Martin had 17 points for the Timberwolves (23-24), who fell under .500 with their second straight loss.
Korver, guarded closely by Brewer much of the game, missed his only 3-point attempt in the first half. Korver finally broke free to sink his first 3 with 7:32 remaining in the third quarter for a 60-all tie, extending his NBA record to 115 consecutive games with a 3.
Korver added another 3-pointer about a minute later and sank his third with 4:20 remaining in the quarter, giving Atlanta a 73-62 lead.
“Once he got one, it’s tough,” Brewer said. “I tried to chase him and make it tough on him all night. … But he’s a great shooter. He has the record for a reason.”
Minnesota opened the final period with quick 3s by J.J. Barea and Alexey Shved to trim Atlanta’s lead to 86-81.
Barea was ejected with 6:43 remaining. He was called for a technical foul on Minnesota’s end of the court and argued his case at the other end, stepping inside the 3-point arc before finally being tossed as Korver was setting up for a free throw.
NOTES: Millsap fouled out with 4:19 remaining. … Ricky Rubio had 11 assists for Minnesota. … The Hawks signed F Cartier Martin to a 10-day contract and he was active to start his second stint with the team. He appeared in 25 games with the Hawks before he was waived on Jan. 7 and then signed two 10-day contracts with the Bulls. … The Hawks played their first home game since Wednesday night’s game against Detroit was postponed until April 8 due to the winter storm that paralyzed the city.
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