NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Anthony Davis responded to his selection to the Western Conference All-Star squad with 26 points and 10 rebounds, and the New Orleans Pelicans overcame a 10-point fourth quarter deficit to defeat the Minnesota Timberwolves 98-91 on Friday night.
Eric Gordon scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half to fuel New Orleans’ comeback, while Davis, who was appointed by to the All-Star team in place of injured Kobe Bryant earlier in the day, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked his only shot in the final period.
Brian Roberts added 16 points, including a 22-foot pullup jumper to make it 96-91 with 22 seconds left, and the Pelicans made 13 of 20 shots in the fourth quarter, outscoring Minnesota 37-20 in the period.
Kevin Love had 26 points and 19 rebounds for Minnesota, while Corey Brewer had 16 points and Kevin Martin 15.
Love’s inside presence helped Minnesota build the largest lead of the game, at 12, in the third quarter.
Love outrebounded the Pelicans as a team 8-5 and had nine points in the period, seven at the free throw line. His free throws in the final minute of the quarter made it 71-59 before Rivers’ 11-foot floater pulled the Pelicans back to 10 points heading into the final period.
New Orleans still trailed by nine when J.J. Barea’s fast-break layup made it 75-66.
Pelicans coach Monty Williams was muttering to himself in disgust when he called timeout, and New Orleans responded afterward.
Gordon’s 18-foot pull-up jumper and a pair of 3s by Anthony Morrow fueled a 12-2 run. Gordon capped the surge with an explosive dribble drive past Brewer for a two-handed dunk, after which Brewer held out his palms up at his side and smirked as if asking how he was supposed to defend such a move.
New Orleans gradually built its lead to seven. Ricky Rubio, who had 11 points, briefly cut it to 89-85 with a 3, but Morrow’s third 3 on as many attempts made it 92-85 and Minnesota did not get closer than three points after that.
Davis started fast offensively, scoring 10 points in the first nine minutes, including an alley-oop dunk of Roberts’ lob and a forceful two-handed putback jam after muscling into position to grab the rebound of Gordon’s missed layup. He had 17 points by halftime.
Love, returning from a once game absence cause by neck stiffness, missed four of his first five shots, but then made three of four shots in the second quarter, twice while being fouled inside for three-point plays.
Meanwhile, Brewer and Martin each scored 11 early points, helping Minnesota take a 47-42 lead into halftime.
NOTES: Love was 14 for 17 from the free throw line. … F Luke Babbitt made his debut for the Pelicans in the second quarter and hit a 3 soon after checking in and finished with five points in 19:29, including a clutch tip-in of Davis’ miss late in the fourth quarter. … Martin, now in his 10th season, was playing in his 600th NBA game.