Pelicans set offensive records in victory over Timberwolves
Jrue Holiday met virtually no resistance as he drove for what looked like an easy layup, but he chose instead to hurl the ball out to the perimeter, where Tyreke Evans drilled a 3-pointer.
On New Orleans’ next possession, Holiday attempted a far more contested shot in the paint, rolling it in as he drew the foul.
That’s what kind of night it was for the Pelicans, who seemingly could do no wrong and broke a slew of franchise records in a 139-91 victory over the reeling Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.
"We’re jelling right now and I think you can tell, obviously," Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson said in describing the growth of his team’s young core. "We’re learning, but tonight was kind of a game that really solidified the fact that we understand how to play with each other. … When we move the ball, it looks really good and it’s just great basketball."
New Orleans’ point total, 56 made field goals, 66.7 percent shooting and 48-point margin of victory all set new franchise records for a game. The Pelicans’ 15 made 3-pointers tied a franchise high. New Orleans led by 53 points in the fourth quarter.
"I’ve been in the league 17 years and I’ve never seen anyone shoot like that," Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said of the Pelicans. "I could have put five chairs out on the court and they wouldn’t have shot that well."
The Timberwolves set franchise marks for most lopsided loss and most points allowed.
"I am at a loss for words," Minnesota guard Kevin Martin said. "Being a competitor, you don’t wish nights like this on anyone. We just have to stick together, get through this storm."
Holiday missed just one of 10 shots he took while scoring 24 points to go with nine assists through three quarters.
"I knew was going to have a good shooting night," Holiday said, recalling a 3 he hit on his second shot attempt. "After that I was like, `Yeah, that rim’s kind of big right now.’"
Anthony Davis added 22 points in 27 minutes, and Austin Rivers scored 17. Anderson and Tyreke Evans each had 16.
Andrew Wiggins scored 20 points and Corey Brewer 18 for Minnesota, which lost its fourth straight. The Timberwolves committed 24 turnovers and missed 11 of 14 3-pointers.
Minnesota came in struggling and short-handed. Already without guard Ricky Rubio, who injured his ankle last Friday, the Wolves had to play without Thaddeus Young, who was granted a leave of absence following his mother’s death and is expected to miss at least one more game.
New Orleans missed consecutive shots only once in the first half, during which they shot 72.1 percent (31 of 43) while building an 80-44 lead. New Orleans scored only 30 of those points in the paint, going 8 for 9 from 3-point range in the opening 24 minutes.
"They jumped on us in the beginning and we reacted in a very negative way," Saunders said. "I don’t think it was giving up. I think, more than anything, it was just shell-shocked. It’s like they got hit with a hay-maker and they got knocked down and they were dazed."
MAKING HISTORY: Records set by the Pelicans also included 43 points in the first quarter, during which they shot 75 percent (18 of 24) and opened on a 20-6 run. New Orleans’ first-half point total was also a franchise record for a half.
The Pelicans previous records for points in a game was 135 and shooting percentage was 63.8. Pelicans records do not include any games the franchise played as the Charlotte Hornets before moving to New Orleans for the 2002-03 season. Those records went back to Charlotte’s franchise when it took back the name Hornets.
SHARING THE BALL: New Orleans had seven players reach double figures. Luke Babbitt scored 12 on 4-for-4 shooting on 3s. Eric Gordon made all four of his shots — two from deep — to finish with 11 points. The Pelicans also had 31 assists as a team.
Timberwolves: The team flew directly from Mexico City, where it lost to Houston, to New Orleans, landing at 5 a.m. on Thursday. The team then had a free night in New Orleans on Thursday before returning to action Friday night.
Pelicans: In large part because the Pelicans shot so well, they had only three offensive rebounds and four second-chance points.
Timberwolves: At Dallas on Saturday.
Pelicans: At Portland on Monday.