ATLANTA - The staff at Philips Arena rushed to the court with a stretcher after the first quarter to aid the Atlanta Hawks' dunking mascot Sky Hawk, who got a little too wild on one of his signature moves. He was able to exit under his own power. But that pretty much summed up the situation for the Hawks and the Minnesota Timberwolves, two banged up teams that each had to sign 10-day-contract players lately to have 10 healthy players on their rosters.
"I guess whenever we play something's going to happen," the Timberwolves' Derrick Williams quipped as he sat at his locker with both knees and both ankles iced." There's going to be an injury somehow."
But it was the Hawks' healthy star Al Horford and former and current Hawk Jannero Pargo, who signed a 10-day contract before the game, who led the Hawks as they erased an 18-point halftime deficit to scratch out a 104-96 victory over Minnesota Monday afternoon.
Horford led the Hawks (23-18) with 28 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots. Pargo scored a season-high 16 points, all but two of them in the fourth quarter.
"I take my hat off to Jannero Pargo," Hawks coach Larry Drew said. "The way he came in today . . . it was a really gutsy performance. I know he's not in real basketball shape even though we worked him out yesterday. But he passed the test [today].
"It was just a heck of a game."
Josh Smith, flirting with foul trouble, had 10 points, six assists and four rebounds. Mike Scott had 11 points and seven rebounds off the bench. Jeff Teague had nine points and 10 assists.
The Timberwolves (17-21) had six players score in double figures. Williams led the charge with 17 points and four rebounds. Andrei Kirilenko had 13 points, five rebounds and five assists. Greg Stiemsma added 11 points and five rebounds, Luke Ridnour had 12 points, and J.J. Barea had 14 points and seven assists. Dante Cunningham, returning from the flu, had 13 points.
"We turned it over too much and we fed their transition D and it hurt us. It really hurt us." Timberwolves acting coach Terry Porter said. "We knew this team, especially at home but just in general, they like to get up and down. We just couldn't feed their fast break with turnovers and we did that.
"They turned up the intensity, forced us into a lot of long shots with low clock situations."
The Hawks reeled off seven straight points to start the third quarter, as Kyle Korver got hot, scoring 11 of his 14 points in the period.
"Coach got after us pretty good," Horford said. "He told us he expected better from us and, frankly, I did as well."
"I was already prepared at the start of the third quarter to start yanking people early," Drew said, "because I was looking for energy. If the first group didn't begin it, we were going to make some subs very quickly."
The 2 p.m. ET start appeared to have deprived the sluggish Hawks of sleep as they committed eight first-quarter turnovers.
The Hawks have a 10-game home winning streak over Timberwolves. The last time Minnesota won in Atlanta was Nov. 20, 2002.
"Like I've been saying all year," Williams said, "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."
Notes: The Hawks, dropping like flies at the guard position, signed veteran Pargo to help fill the void. Pargo played in 50 games for the Hawks last season and had played in seven games for the Washington Wizards earlier this season. Drew said that of the players available to sign, Pargo made the most sense because he's already familiar with Hawks plays and personnel. The Hawks lost Lou Williams to a season-ending ACL injury last Friday, had Devin Harris limp off the court Saturday with a sprained left ankle, and continue to nurse Anthony Morrow (sore lower back) and DeShawn Stevenson (sore right knee) through injuries. Harris is day-to-day but Drew said he was out for this game. ... In his absence, rookie John Jenkins made his first NBA start.