Butler’s late points lift Timberwolves past Pelicans, 104-98
By Brett Martel
AP Sports Writer
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Jimmy Butler hit a go-ahead 20-foot jumper as he was fouled with 34 seconds left to cap off a 23-point performance, and the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the New Orleans Pelicans 104-98 on Wednesday night.
Andrew Wiggins scored 18 points for Minnesota, which has won three straight, but nearly blew a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter.
DeMarcus Cousins had 35 points and nine rebounds, and the Pelicans tied it at 96 when Cousins bounced a pass to Anthony Davis cutting down the lane for a two-handed dunk.
Davis had 24 points and 10 rebounds, and Jrue Holiday added 14 points for New Orleans, which has lost two straight.
Taj Gibson had 11 points and 12 rebounds to help the Timberwolves outrebound the Pelicans 47-38. Gorgui Dieng and Nemanja Bjelica scored 12 points apiece as Minnesota shot 49.4 percent (41 of 83).
Cousins tied a career high with five 3-pointers, but missed his last three. The rest of the Pelicans were 3 of 21 combined from deep.
The Timberwolves led for most of the first half, shooting 60.5 percent (26 of 43) and going up by as many as 12 points when Butler’s dunk made it 60-48.
The Wolves still let by 12 when Tyus Jones layup made it 92-80 with 8:16 left.
Cousins and Allen then each scored six points during a 14-4 run to tie it with 2:22 to go.
Timberwolves: Towns had to sit with three fouls with 8:49 left in the second quarter after he caught Cousins across the face with his left hand while trying to spin away from the Pelicans’ big man. He played limited minutes because of foul trouble and didn’t score his first points until his put-back dunk with less than five minutes to go. The third-year pro out of Kentucky has never been shut out in his career. … Jamal Crawford, who had 11 points, closed out the first quarter by banking in a 39-foot shot from the mid-court circle. … Minnesota won despite 22 turnovers leading to 28 Pelicans points.
Pelicans: Tony Allen had a season-high 10 points in 19 minutes off the bench. … The Pelicans fell to 1-3 at home after the second loss of a three-game home stand that ended Wednesday night. … Cousins, who entered the game with 36 turnovers, had six in the first half and finished with eight. … New Orleans had 19 turnovers leading to 27 points.
Timberwolves: Play the first of back-to-back home games against Dallas on Saturday night
Pelicans: Begin a four-game trip at Dallas on Friday night.