New Orleans, LA – Nikola Pekovic scored a season-high 31 points and the Minnesota Timberwolves kept the Hornets reeling with a 113-102 victory at New Orleans Arena.
Pekovic converted on 14-of-18 from the field to help Minnesota capture its fifth victory in its last six games. Andrei Kirilenko and Luke Ridnour each notched double-doubles, with Kirilenko tallying 21 points and 11 rebounds while Ridnour finished with 15 points and 10 assists in the win.
"It was a good night for everyone. It was a good win for us," said Pekovic. "Everybody played good. We played like a team."
Kevin Love totaled 14 points and nine boards despite an off shooting night, but left the game late in the game after injuring his hand. Alexey Shved contributed 13 points and eight assists.
Rookie Austin Rivers had his best game as a pro, scoring a career-high 27 points, but the Hornets suffered their sixth straight setback.
"Tonight I came in thinking I've got to be aggressive and make plays for my teammates," said Rivers. "Whether that's scoring or getting someone else a shot, whatever it may be. Tonight, it was scoring, and I've got to continue to do that."
Ryan Anderson followed with 20 points and seven boards and Greivis Vasquez totaled a double-double with 15 points and 17 assists.
Minnesota carried a 28-23 edge heading into the second period, where they led by as many as nine before the Hornets made a push to take the lead late in the quarter.
Rivers, who scored 14 points in the second, hit a pair of jumpers around a layup from Vasquez before knocking down a triple to make it a two-point game with 1:20 left in the period.
He then scored a layup to briefly put the Hornets ahead, but Kirilenko hit a short jumper to even the game at 50-50 before halftime.
Following a three from Anderson and a Vasquez step back jumper, the Hornets built a five-point edge two minutes into the third, but the T'Wolves quickly knotted the game back up after a three from Ridnour and a pair of scores from Kirilenko.
The contest remained a two-possession game until Pekovic helped Minnesota create some separation. He scored seven points during the Timberwolves' 12-5 run in the final three minutes of the quarter to help give Minnesota an 82-73 lead heading into the fourth.
Brian Roberts buried a 3-pointer before hitting a long jumper to pull the Hornets within 90-86, but Minnesota didn't allow them to come any closer.
Kirilenko finished a three-point play before tipping in a miss from J.J. Barea to put the T'Wolves up by 11.
Vazquez drained a triple with 4:18 left to cut the margin to 99-91, but Pekovic and Barea each put in a pair of scores during a 10-2 Minnesota run to help build a 16-point lead and put the game out of reach.
Minnesota's Josh Howard left the game in the third quarter with a hyperextended right knee and did not return ... The Timberwolves improved to 11-5 on the season when they score at least 90 points ... The Hornets fell to 0-11 on the season when allowing 100 points ... Minnesota outscored New Orleans in the paint 70-42 ... The Hornets will begin a four-game road trip on Sunday when they face the Portland Trail Blazers.