Published March 17, 2013
| Sports Network
Minneapolis, MN – Andrei Kirilenko and Nikola Pekovic returned and made two key plays down the stretch.
Pekovic sunk two go-ahead free throws with 14 seconds remaining and Kirilenko made two key blocks in the Minnesota Timberwolves' 97-95 win over the New Orleans Hornets.
Pekovic's foul shots gave the Wolves a 96-95 lead and Eric Gordon took the ball to the basket on New Orleans' next possession, but Kirilenko came over to help defensively and swatted the shot away before splitting a pair from the line to put Minnesota up by two.
Kirilenko then blocked Roger Mason Jr.'s 3-point attempt at the buzzer.
"Good win," Minnesota head coach Rick Adelman said. "We made two or three plays down the stretch that won the games for us."
Pekovic missed the last nine games with an abdominal strain, while Kirilenko sat out the previous eight contests with a calf injury. Pekovic tallied 13 points and six rebounds and Kirilenko added eight points and five boards.
Derrick Williams finished with 28 points for Minnesota, which had dropped 10 of its last 12 tilts coming in.
"Derrick Williams had a monster night, you don't expect him to go off for 28," Hornets head coach Monty Williams said. "Tough loss, our guys battled."
Greivis Vasquez tallied 24 points, seven rebounds and five assists, while Robin Lopez finished 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Hornets, who have lost eight of their last 10 contests.
The Hornets led 95-91 with 1:00 to play after Vasquez made two foul shots, but Ricky Rubio's three-point play pulled Minnesota within one. Gordon then missed a step-back jumper and Pekovic was fouled at the other end.
Minnesota took a 28-27 edge after a quarter of play before the Hornets outscored the Wolves 25-22 in the second to take a 52-50 cushion into the break. The Wolves headed into the final frame with a 76-73 advantage.
Anthony Davis registered 17 points, nine rebounds and three steals for the Hornets ... New Orleans turned the ball over 20 times, which led to 18 Minnesota points.