MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Mired in a four-game losing streak
and sinking further out of contention in the Western Conference, the New
Orleans Pelicans were in desperate need of a confidence builder.
The Minnesota Timberwolves seemed happy to make it
easy on them.
Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday scored 27 points
apiece, and the Pelicans beat the Timberwolves 116-102 on Monday night for just
their sixth road victory of the season.
Davis grabbed eight rebounds and Holiday had nine
assists and five boards as well. Ryan Anderson chipped in 26 points, and the
Pelicans turned 12 turnovers into 21 points while turning the ball over just
four times themselves.
"Just to get a road win, and we've been
struggling on the road, so that was all good for us," coach Alvin Gentry
Karl-Anthony Towns had 19 points and 12 rebounds for
the Timberwolves, who were looking for their first three-game winning streak
since Nov. 27. They shot 44 percent and trailed by as many as 28 in a
"I'm just going to say it's one of those
clunkers," interim coach Sam Mitchell said. "You get two, three, four
a season. I can't recall, we haven't had one in a long time. Just one of those
nobody really played well. Nobody played bad, but nobody played well."
It has been a miserable season for the Pelicans, who
were looking to parlay last year's playoff berth and Gentry's up-tempo style
into a climb up the Western Conference ladder. But they've been racked by
injuries to key players such as Tyreke Evans, Eric Gordon and Quincy Pondexter and
have played some of the worst defense in the NBA.
The Timberwolves had shown signs of pulling themselves
out of a long funk with consecutive victories over the Clippers and Bulls that
helped them match their victory total for all of last season (16) with 30 games
to play. But they provided little resistance to the struggling Pelicans on
Towns and Ricky Rubio each picked up two fouls in the
first quarter, forcing Mitchell to roll out a shaky second unit for a stretch
in the second quarter that included Zach LaVine, Andre Miller, Shabazz
Muhammad, Damjan Rudez and Adreian Payne.
The Pelicans pounced on that five-man group, ripping
off a 14-0 run in just over three minutes. The Wolves went nearly eight minutes
of the period without a field goal and Holiday got going on the other end as
the lead swelled to 23 points.
"We've been playing so well recently," Towns
said. "We didn't expect to hit a wall like this."
New Orleans has been monitoring Holiday's minutes
closely to try to keep him healthy and is bringing him off the bench even with
Gordon and Evans out. Gentry has had to appoint an assistant who has the power
to overrule him and remove Holiday from the game when they're pushing too
"I had to assign a guy to do that because it
would be hard for me to do it," Gentry said. "It really is,
especially when he's playing at the level that he is and the game is still
teetering either way."
The Pelicans were headed back home, giving the
first-year coach Gentry the chance to experience Mardi Gras for the first time
as a resident.
"Somebody sent me a picture of a scene right by
my house on St. Charles and I was like 'holy moly,'" Gentry said.
"I've never lived it. I've been at a Mardi Gras but I've never actually
lived it, so I think I'll step back and just let it happen this time."
Pelicans: The game was delayed late in the fourth
quarter after Omer Asik had a contact lens knocked out of his eye and had to
replace it. ... Davis topped 20 points for the 12th time in the last 13 games.
The only time he did not in that stretch was when he had to leave a game early
because of a concussion.
Timberwolves: Dieng picked up a technical foul in the
third for flopping around on the court after being called for an offensive
foul. ... Rookie PG Tyus Jones played for the first time since Jan. 4, a span
of 17 games.
Pelicans: Host Utah on Wednesday.
Timberwolves: Host Toronto on Wednesday.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights
reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or
Posted on Tue, February 9, 2016
by JON KRAWCZYNSKI, AP Basketball Writer