Towns and Butler score 21 as Wolves roll over Pelicans
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Karl-Anthony Towns and Jimmy Butler each scored 21 points, Andrew Wiggins added 20 and the Minnesota Timberwolves cruised past New Orleans 116-98 on Saturday night.
Towns went 7 for 11 and grabbed 16 rebounds for another strong effort after Friday’s 25-point, 23-rebound career performance in Boston. This time, though, the rest of the Wolves also shot well.
Taj Gibson had 15 points, and Gorgui Dieng added 14 off the bench as the Wolves shot 48.9 percent from the floor and led by as many as 34.
DeMarcus Cousins led the Pelicans with 23 points and Anthony Davis added 16. But the Wolves held Jrue Holiday, who averaged 21 points per game in December, to single digits for most of the game. Holiday finished with 13 points on 6-for-13 shooting before fouling out with 3:45 to play.
Minnesota may have been playing on back-to-back nights, but it was the Pelicans who lacked energy for most of the game. New Orleans turned the ball over 16 times — leading to 17 Wolves points — and was outrebounded 47-38.
A spin by Cousins pulled the Pelicans to 38-30 in the second quarter before Minnesota ripped off a 31-12 run that saw the Wolves hit a series of tough, off-balance shots. New Orleans closed within 16 points in the fourth quarter to make the crowd slightly nervous, but never seriously threatened the lead.
Pelicans: New Orleans shot 36.4 percent (8 for 22) in the third quarter, and was 6-for-29 from 3-point range for the game. It was the first time the Pelicans failed to score 100 points since Nov. 25 against Golden State (17 games) … Cousins recorded his 29th double-double of the season. … The Pelicans fell to 2-13 when being outrebounded this season.
Timberwolves: It was Minnesota’s third straight sellout. The Wolves hadn’t sold out three consecutive games since 2012. … Coach Tom Thibodeau said G Jeff Teague is doing “more and more” in his recovery from a sprained left MCL. Teague missed his sixth game since hurting his knee Dec. 27 against Denver and is sidelined indefinitely. “He’s fitted with a brace, so he’s getting used to that,” Thibodeau said. “So we just take it day by day. When he’s ready to go, he goes.”