Atlanta (12-23) at Minnesota (20-16)

Cloudy Currently: Minneapolis, MN
Temp: 47° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Wed Jan 17, 2007
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Minnesota Timberwolves have gone from a sub-.500 team to a contender in the Western Conference. There has been no such wavering in their play at home against the Atlanta Hawks in recent years.

After yet another overtime victory, the Timberwolves look to match their longest winning streak of the season and win their ninth straight home game against the Hawks when the teams meet Wednesday.

Since closing 2006 with a 13-15 record, Minnesota (20-16) has won seven of eight and has a 4-0 record in overtime games. The team’s lone loss came by only a point - 92-91 to the Los Angeles Clippers last Wednesday.

Kevin Garnett had 19 points and 14 rebounds, Ricky Davis scored 21 and Mark Blount made a key 3-pointer to lead the Timberwolves to a 94-90 overtime win at Detroit on Monday.

Only one of their eight games in 2007 has been decided by more than six points.

“It’s huge that we’ve been through these games,” Davis said. “Everything is a little smoother because we know we can win them and we’ve been there a whole lot of times.”

Minnesota, with a chance to win four straight games for the third time this season, now faces a team it has dominated at the Target Center.

The Timberwolves have won eight consecutive home games against the Hawks (12-23) since an 80-66 loss on April 12, 1997, holding Atlanta to 84.1 points per game and 28 percent shooting from 3-point range.

Minnesota coach Dwane Casey said his team is playing well because its roster has been stable since a seven-player trade with Boston last season and some pickups during the offseason.

“It means everything that we’ve been together,” Casey said. “We had the big trade last year, and we got three key guys in October, and I’ve been saying all along that we just need time together.

“Last year, everyone said they couldn’t win close games, and now look at us.”

The Hawks come into this matchup having won back-to-back games for the first time since winning four in a row from Nov. 3-10.

Atlanta recovered after blowing a 14-point lead and beat short-handed Boston 100-96 on Monday.

Hawks swingman Josh Childress said it shouldn’t have been so difficult to beat a Boston team missing Paul Pierce, Tony Allen and former Timberwolves star Wally Szczerbiak.

“The thing we really need to get better at is when we have a team down, keep them down,” said Childress, who set season highs with 23 points and 14 rebounds.

Atlanta led 76-62 late in the third quarter but Boston charged back to briefly take the lead in the final period.

“That’s one thing we really need to clean up,” Childress said. “There have been so many other times when that bit us at the end of the game.”

Atlanta was boosted by the surprisingly early return of Josh Smith from a hernia operation this week. Smith set a career high with five steals and a season high with seven blocked shots. He scored 18 points.

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Wednesday, Jan 17