T'Wolves use balanced attack to take down Pelicans
Minneapolis, MN (SportsNetwork.com) - Nikola Pekovic led seven players in double figures with 22 points as the Minnesota Timberwolves dispatched the New Orleans Pelicans with a 124-112 win Wednesday night.
Kevin Love scored 21 points, Kevin Martin added 20, while Jose Juan Barea and Ricky Rubio netted 17 and 14, respectively, for Minnesota, which has won three straight and four of the last five games against New Orleans. Rubio also had nine assists and eight rebounds.
Dante Cunningham and Alexey Shved deposited 10 apiece in the win.
"It was a sustained effort from the guys tonight," said Minnesota head coach Rick Adelman. "Our group has a tendency to relax when we get a big lead, but they kept playing hard tonight."
Ryan Anderson paced all scorers with 25 points on just 2-of-8 shooting from deep for the Pelicans, who have lost two of three. Jrue Holiday finished with 19 points and five assists, while Anthony Davis scored 13 points to go along with four blocks.
"The way we've been playing in practice I thought we'd be ready for some of the advanced schemes on defense, but we weren't and that's on me," said New Orleans head coach Monty Williams.
Cunningham hit a jumper to give Minnesota a 42-32 lead at the 8:09 mark of the second. However, an Eric Gordon layup and Anderson 3 cut the deficit in half with 7 1/2 to go.
The Wolves ended the first half on a 6-0 sprint after a three-point play from Luc Mbah a Moute and a trey from Rubio gave the hosts a 61-47 lead at the break.
Minnesota put the game out of reach early in the third quarter courtesy of a 17-2 surge.
A Pekovic hook shot early in the frame ignited the run and Martin slammed one down to cap it 4:02 later to give the Wolves a commanding 78-51 lead.
Love kept the pressure on by hitting a 3 to push the lead to a game-high 30, 87-57, with 4:51 to play in the quarter.
New Orleans closed to within 10 late in the fourth, but that was as close as they got.
Pekovic and Love each had double-double streaks snapped with Pekovic recording a double-double in the previous five games and Love recording one in seven straight ... Minnesota shot 28-for-35 (80 percent) from the free throw line ... Each team pulled down 37 rebounds.