Horford leads Hawks over TimberwolvesOct 17, 2007 - 1:48 AM By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
ATLANTA (Ticker) - In the first matchup between three former Florida Gators, Al Horford and the Atlanta Hawks prevailed.
Horford had nine points, 10 rebounds and four assists and Zaza Pachulia scored 16 first-half points to lead the Hawks to a 103-77 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves in a preseason game on Tuesday.
Atlanta's Horford, Minnesota's Corey Brewer and Chris Richard teamed with Chicago's Joakim Noah and Portland's Taurean Green to form the nucleus of a Gators team that won consecutive NCAA titles in 2006 and 2007.
But with the back-to-back feat accomplished, the five moved onto the next step - the NBA.
Horford, who was selected by the Hawks with the third pick in the draft, has been solid this preseason, averaging 10.3 points and 8.5 rebounds coming into Tuesday's play.
He recorded his first double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds in Sunday's loss to Portland.
He put in another solid performance in this one, helping his club out to a commanding 60-42 halftime lead by collecting six points, four rebounds and three assists before adding three points and six rebounds and one assist in the second half.
Pachulia led six players in double figures with 16 points for Atlanta, which has won four of five preseason games.
The Timberwolves came out strong to start the second half, engineering a 22-10 run to cut their deficit to six with 3:56 remaining in the third quarter on 10 points from Al Jefferson, six from Rashad McCants and six from Craig Smith.
But it was too little, too late.
Atlanta held Minnesota without a field goal for more than nine minutes in the fourth quarter, embarking on a 21-0 run for a commanding 101-70 lead in the final minutes.
Jefferson had 20 points and 15 rebounds, and Brewer - the Timberwolves' seventh overall selection - scored two points in 15 minutes. Richard, a second-round pick, had two points in 10 minutes for Minnesota.
Atlanta prevailed despite again playing shorthanded at point guard. Tyronn Lue (right knee) and Salim Stoudamire (hamstring) have missed the entire preseason and starting point guard Speedy Claxton (knees) was rested for the third straight game.
The 29-year-old Claxton, who had surgery on his left knee in the offseason, is presently not practicing with the club.
Rookie point guard Acie Law IV sat for the second straight game with a sore wrist. An MRI was performed on the wrist Monday and the results will be known on Wednesday. Atlanta swingman Josh Childress (bruised forearm) and center Lorenzen Wright (groin) also missed Tuesday's contest.
The Timberwolves played without forward Ryan Gomes (sprained left foot), guards Randy Foye (left knee tendinitis) and Sebastian Telfair (sprained left ankle) and seven-year veteran Mark Madsen (right shoulder surgery).
ATLANTA 103 FINAL
Oct 16 9:31 PM
ATLANTA 80 END, 3RD QTR
Oct 16 8:58 PM
ATLANTA 60 HALFTIME
Oct 16 8:10 PM
ATLANTA 31 END, 1ST QTR
Oct 16 7:34 PM
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