Davis, Pelicans grind out win over Timberwolves
Newly minted All-Star starter Anthony Davis had 21 points and 12 rebounds to help the New Orleans Pelicans avoid what would have been another ugly road loss with a 92-84 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.
Eric Gordon scored 20 points and the Pelicans (22-21) shot 50 percent from the field to move over .500 for the first time since Jan. 2. New Orleans has won two in a row for the first time in more than a month.
Gorgui Dieng had 14 points and 15 rebounds for the Timberwolves (7-35), who have the fewest wins in the league.
The Pelicans moved into a tie with Oklahoma City for ninth in the Western Conference after the Thunder lost to Atlanta.
Ryan Anderson missed the game with ankle inflammation and Jrue Holiday again was out with a stress reaction in his right leg. But a team that has struggled against some of the league’s worst managed to buckle down and grind one out against the lowly Timberwolves.
Davis made just 9 of 23 shots, but the Pelicans held star rookie Andrew Wiggins to 13 points on 6-for-16 shooting.
The 92 points were the fewest scored by the Pelicans in a win this year, but after an uneven January, they’ll take Ws any way they can.
Glaring losses at Philadelphia, New York, Boston and Charlotte this month kept the Pelicans from building any momentum in a conference that offers little room for missteps. Things looked a little ominous in the early going when they fell behind 11-1 to a team they beat by 48 points in November.
But Dante Cunningham, who had struggled with his shooting recently, made 7 of 12 shots for 14 points and Tyreke Evans had 17 points and eight assists to help the Pelicans hold off the Wolves.
Minnesota pulled within 82-78 with four minutes to play, but Cunningham hit a jumper, Davis scored on a drive to the basket and then iced the game with an 18-foot jumper.
Thaddeus Young scored 15 points and Mo Williams added 12 points and 10 assists for Minnesota.
Pelicans: Cunningham returned to Minnesota for the first time after spending the previous two years with the Wolves. He was embroiled in a domestic assault case at the end of last season and charges were dropped when police decided the woman fabricated the allegations.
Timberwolves: Kevin Martin was downgraded from questionable to out earlier in the day while he experienced more swelling in his fractured right wrist. … The Wolves have lost 10 straight at home. … Young did not grab a rebound in 31 minutes.