Butler leads Wolves past Pelicans
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Jimmy Butler scored 30 points, Karl-Anthony Towns had 22 points and 16 rebounds for his league-leading 47th double-double, and the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the New Orleans Pelicans 118-107 on Saturday night.
In front of a capacity crowd dotted with celebrities in town for Sunday’s Super Bowl, the Wolves dominated from the start en route to their 12th straight home win and a four-game season sweep of the Pelicans.
Anthony Davis led New Orleans with 38 points and managed to keep the Pelicans from getting completely blown out in the first quarter, when the Wolves opened a 22-6 lead. Davis scored 19 first-quarter points to help the Pelicans pull within single digits at times, but Minnesota had an answer for every run and shot 50.5 percent on the night to steadily maintain its lead.
Nikola Mirotic scored 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting in his first game for New Orleans since being traded from Chicago on Thursday for Omer Asik, Tony Allen and Jameer Nelson. Mirotic hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the third to pull the Pelicans to 90-79 before Towns closed the quarter with a three-point play and a dunk.
Tyus Jones had 15 points off the bench for the Wolves. Andrew Wiggins had 15 points for Minnesota and Taj Gibson added 12.
Pelicans: The team gave Emeka Okafor another shot at the NBA by signing the veteran forward to a 10-day contract. Okafor last played in the NBA in 2013 before being sidelined by a neck injury. He’s played 26 games in the G League this year, averaging 6.8 points and eight rebounds per game. “Obviously it’s a never-give-up attitude to get your way back to where he is right now, and so it’s just a matter of him being able to perform and stay at this level,” coach Alvin Gentry said. Okafor was available but didn’t play.
Timberwolves: Some of the faces spotted in the crowd included Floyd Mayweather, Sting, Shaggy, Guy Fieri, Antonio Brown and Tony Gonzalez. . Coach Tom Thibodeau had no comment on recent ESPN reports that Shabazz Muhammad has requested a trade. “I didn’t see it,” said Thibodeau, who is also the team’s president of basketball operations.
Timberwolves: At Cleveland on Wednesday night.