Preview: Timberwolves at Pelicans
Before the 2015 NBA draft, Karl-Anthony Towns drew comparisons to fellow Kentucky product Anthony Davis.
Towns is the league’s latest top overall pick and will face the 2012 No. 1 pick in Davis for the first time Tuesday night as the Minnesota Timberwolves seek to end their six-game road losing streak as they meet the New Orleans Pelicans.
New Orleans (13-27) and Minnesota (13-29) are in last place in their respective divisions as they meet for the first time after the Pelicans captured all four 2014-15 matchups. Davis averaged 23.8 points and 9.0 rebounds while shooting 50.7 percent with 10 blocks.
He could find more resistance this season against Towns, who is second among all rookies with 15.5 points per game and first with an average of 9.5 rebounds.
These players have been compared because of their similar height and wingspan, though Davis is considered the better athlete. Each played one season for Kentucky teams that won 38 games, with Davis winning the national title in 2011-12 and Towns falling two games shy of that last season.
New Orleans is beginning a season-high seven-game homestand after falling short of their second three-game win streak with Monday’s 101-99 loss to Memphis in a game that featured 18 lead changes and 14 ties.
Davis had 21 points, eight rebounds and three blocks for the Pelicans, who had 15 turnovers to match their total from their previous two games.
"You can’t expect to win with all the turnovers that we had, too many unforced turnovers," Davis said.
There was a good reason for the increased miscues. Guard Tyreke Evans sat out with a sore right knee, and Norris Cole started in his place and had four turnovers.
"(Evans) is a guy that can obviously create plays and make plays and do some things that some of our other guys can’t but he wasn’t able to go today so you have to go with what you have," coach Alvin Gentry said.
Ryan Anderson was held to 14 points after totaling 50 in his previous two games. His average of 17.1 as a reserve leads all bench players.
Minnesota is struggling on the road now after starting 4-0 there. The Timberwolves are probably happy to win anywhere after ending a season-high nine-game slide with Sunday’s 117-87 rout of Phoenix.
"It’s tough when you lose nine games in a row," interim coach Sam Mitchell said. "One thing I give the group credit for, they don’t hang their head. They don’t point fingers. They come to work every day and work on their game and try to become a better basketball team. But you need some wins along the way to verify the hard work you’re putting in."
Andrew Wiggins and Ricky Rubio each scored 18 points and Towns added 14 and eight boards. Wiggins is averaging 24.8 points in his last six games.
The Wolves have a key reserve in Shabazz Muhammad, who is averaging 14.1 points in his last eight contests. Among players averaging at least 20 touches, Muhammad’s .473 points per touch is the league’s best mark. Wiggins is not far behind at .445.