Trae Young scored a season-high 43 points, Clint Capela had 13 points, 19 rebounds and 10 blocks, and the Atlanta Hawks topped the Minnesota Timberwolves 116-98 on Friday night.
Young scored 25 points in the first half as the Hawks took a 19-point lead at halftime. He reached 40 points in the third quarter using a step-back 3-pointer that put the Hawks up 84-59.
“I am not going to be surprised when Trae’s scoring 40 or 30 or 12 assists or whatever the amount is,” Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said. “He’s learning. He’s having fun with it.”
Hawks players on the bench stood and cheered when Capela picked up his 10th block in the fourth quarter, swatting a shot away by a driving Jordan McLaughin.
Capela became the third largest player in Hawks background with 10 blocks in a game, joining Dikembe Mutombo and Josh Smith.
“I have never seen 10 cubes in person,” Young stated. “What he did tonight was incredible. He has been doing this for us. You have got to give credit where it is due. He’s playing really well for us”
Second-year forwards Cam Reddish returned after missing three games with a knee injury and added 15 points off the bench for the Hawks, who moved to 8-7.
Malik Beasley was one of the few bright spots for Minnesota with 17 points.
“There are several effort errors, also,” Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders stated. “These are ones we can not have.”
Minnesota has lost four straight and 11 of its last 12 after starting the season 2-0.
The same two teams faced earlier this week when the Hawks beat the Timberwolves 108-97 in Atlanta even though a season-high 24 turnovers. Each team played a game in between meetings, together with Minnesota dropping a house game to Orlando and Atlanta beating the Pistons at home.
Hawks: Capela captured his sixth straight double-double and his ninth overall this year. … It was the 13th 40-point game of Young’s career and first this season.
Timberwolves: PG Ricky Rubio returned to action Friday after missing two games due to the league’s health and security protocols. Rubio was the first player off the bench for Minnesota. … Jake Layman was the sole player on the active roster who did not play in the first half Friday.
Pierce spoke broadly before Friday’s game about Hank Aaron, the Hall of Fame baseball player who died earlier Friday. Aaron, who spent 21 of the 23 years playing with the Atlanta Braves, spoke to the Hawks at a clinic during Pierce’s first season as coach throughout the 2018-19 season.
Before Aaron addressed the group, Pierce had a opportunity to speak 1-on-1 for a few minutes with Aaron. That conversation sticks with him to this day.
“For me, as an adult, I met a hero, I met an idol, I met a star. It is still an awe second for me,” Pierce said. “I was mainly impressed with his humility, him feeling as though it was a chance for him. Really it was a chance for us to listen to him, to listen to his tales, for him to explain in his own words what he went through leading up to breaking the (home run) record.”
Hawks: Atlanta plays in Milwaukee on Sunday.
Timberwolves: Minnesota appears to bounce back with a game Saturday at home against the New Orleans Pelicans. It is New Orleans’ sixth straight road game.