Wolves squander 18-point lead; fall to Hawks
ATLANTA (AP) — Jannero Pargo hopes he’ll be spending the rest of the season with the Atlanta Hawks.
Maybe after his 10-day contract expires, Pargo will get his wish.
“I would rather have been here from the beginning of the year, but I love this team,” he said. “It’s a great team, a great group of guys. It’s like I never left.”
Al Horford scored a season-high 28 points, Pargo had 16 and the Atlanta Hawks snapped a two-game slide with a 104-96 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday.
Derrick Williams finished with 17 points and Jose Barea had 14 for Minnesota, which lost for the sixth time in seven games after blowing an 18-point lead in the second quarter.
Injuries at guard forced the Hawks to sign Pargo to a 10-day contract earlier Monday, and he did not disappoint.
The 33-year-old, nine-year NBA journeyman hit a 3-pointer from the left corner with 5:26 remaining to give the Hawks their first lead since the 9:40 mark of the first quarter.
Pargo, who worked out for the Hawks on Sunday, has been playing pickup games in his adopted hometown of Chicago to stay in shape and hopefully get another chance in the NBA. He played his last game on Nov. 14 during a 10-game contract Washington.
Pargo credited Kyle Korver’s 11 points in the third quarter with helping him feel comfortable to take open shots in the fourth. He was 5 for 7 from the field in the final period and hit four 3s.
“I think Kyle did a great job of being aggressive and knocking down shots,” Pargo said. “That definitely made it a lot easier for myself and lot of other guys to take those shots with confidence.”
Horford pulled down 10 rebounds, and Jeff Teague handed out 10 assists with nine points to help the Hawks win for the third time in 11 games.
Atlanta’s depth problems at guard are substantial with Lou Williams sidelined for the rest of the season because of a torn knee ligament, Devin Harris nursing a sprained left ankle and DeShawn Stevenson and Anthony Morrow held out again on Monday.
Pargo, who played 50 games for Atlanta last season and seven with the Wizards this season, won on the floor 25 minutes as rookie John Jenkins failed to score after making his first career start.
“It’s a relief to be able to have a guy like that,” Horford said. “He was working out. He was in shape. He was a great teammate last year, and I’m happy to have him back.”
Minnesota took its biggest lead at 18 points on Andrei Kirilenko’s three-point play at the 4:49 mark of the second quarter, but the Hawks went on a 35-17 run that ended on rookie Mike Scott’s dunk to force a 69-all tie at the 3:18 of the third.
Korver added 14 points, Anthony Tolliver 11 and Josh Smith 10 for Atlanta. Scott set career highs with 11 points, seven rebounds and 22 minutes.
Kirilenko and Dante Cunningham each scored 13 points, and Greg Stiemsma added 11 for the Timberwolves.
Minnesota was without forward Kevin Love (hand), center Nikola Pekovic (thigh) and guard Alexey Shved (ankle). Cunningham was a game-time decision because he had the flu.
“We can’t afford to lose anybody else,” Derrick Williams said. “There are people playing with injuries. Like I’ve been saying all year, the third quarter has been killing us and it did tonight again. As long as we pick it up in that quarter I think we can win more games.”
The Hawks outscored Minnesota 60-38 in the second half, shooting 23 for 31 from the field.
Interim Timberwolves coach Terry Porter thought Pargo showed a lot of moxie in not hesitating to shoot.
“He hit some big 3s, there’s no doubt about it,” Porter said. “He was in a good rhythm. He caused havoc defensively.”
NOTES: Porter, filling in while Rick Adelman cares for his sick wife, dropped to 2-6 since taking over. ... Atlanta tied a season high by shooting 57.7 percent from the field. ... The Timberwolves have dropped five straight on the road and are 6-15 away from home. .... Eight of Atlanta’s 22 turnovers came in the first 9 minutes of the first quarter.