NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Anthony Davis scored 35 points and the New Orleans Pelicans overcame an early 17-point hole to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 114-99 on Tuesday night.
Jrue Holiday scored 19 points and Tyreke Evans added 13 for the Pelicans, who’ve won three of four and are four games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with their next six games at home.
Eric Gordon scored 11 points but left the game late in the third quarter after apparently jamming a finger on his right hand.
Andrew Wiggins scored 21 points and Karl-Anthony Towns added 20 points and 13 rebounds for Minnesota, which has lost 10 of 11. Ricky Rubio added 15 points, but the Timberwolves were outscored 63-39 in the second half.
Minnesota led 62-51 after Wiggins’ layup early in the third quarter, but New Orleans then surged to its first lead of the game with a 14-2 run that began with a 3 by former Minnesota player Dante Cunningham and ended with Gordon’s 100th 3-pointer of the season, making it 65-64.
Cunningham hit three 3-pointers and finished with 11 points in his 12th start this season.
The Pelicans wound up outscoring the Wolves 31-15 in the third quarter, which ended with the Pelicans scoring four points inside the last 3 seconds – first with Holiday hitting a 15-foot pull-up, then with Cunningham stealing Nemanja Bjelica‘s inbound pass and sprinting in for a layup just before the horn sounded.
Minnesota’s Gorgui Deng, standing under the hoop, caught the ball as it came through the net and disgustedly slammed it off the court. Whatever anger he and his teammates felt didn’t translate to production early in the fourth quarter. They needed more than 3 minutes to score their next points. By then, the Pelicans had taken their first double-digit lead on Davis’ 14-foot jumper.
Soon after, Anderson and Holiday both hit 3s, giving New Orleans a 92-79 lead, and Minnesota could not mount another serious threat.
The Timberwolves looked their best in the opening quarter, racing to their largest lead when Bjelica’s tip-in of Zach LaVine‘s miss made it 38-21.
At that point, Minnesota had hit 13 of its first 17 shots.
Towns had nine points and seven rebounds before the period ended.
Davis scored 22 of his points during the first half to help New Orleans trim its deficit back into single digits. New Orleans also appeared to get an emotional charge when Anderson was called for a foul despite appearing to take the worst of a collision with Kevin Garnett, with the Minnesota veteran’s forearm hitting the Pelicans forward flush in the face. Officials reviewed video of the incident, upholding their initial call as boos rained down from fans who could also see the replay on the scoreboard.
The Timberwolves still were able to carry a 60-51 lead into halftime after Wiggins scored his 14th point on an 11-foot jumper with 4 seconds left in the second quarter, but not much went right after for Minnesota after that.
Timberwolves: Reserve center Nikola Pekovic, who did not make his season debut until Jan. 6 because of right Achilles tendon surgery last April 8, was given the night off to rest. … Minnesota was shooting 72.2 percent after the first quarter (13 of 18), but went 23 of 58 (39.7 percent) the rest of the way to finish at 47.4 percent.
Pelicans: Davis has eclipsed 30 points seven times this season, with a season-high of 43 (which tied his career high). … New Orleans improved to 9-9 at home this season. … The Pelicans have won six straight against Minnesota.