Best third quarter of their season powers Timberwolves to 111-102 win in New Orleans
New Orleans has now lost six straight games.
The quarter that had served as the Timberwolves’ bugaboo for much of the season was Minnesota’s savior Wednesday night in New Orleans.
Trailing the Pelicans by six at the half, Minnesota utilized its best third quarter of the season to blow past the Pelicans for a 111-102 win on the road and a much-needed victory to start a challenging slate.
The Wolves outscored New Orleans 39-21 in a third frame they could not have drawn up any better. The Wolves went 14 for 22 from the field in the third, while New Orleans was a paltry 7 for 19.
D’Angelo Russell got the charge started with a couple of 3-pointers to trim the Wolves’ deficit from eight points to two early in the frame — a needed jolt to Minnesota’s system.
From there, it was all Anthony Edwards. The third-year guard, who’s in the midst of a late charge for an all-star bid, scored 14 of his 37 points in the quarter.
Kyle Anderson came to life after a couple of rough performances against Houston to tally 10 points and seven assists. Per usual, Anderson was the primary conductor on all good things that came Rudy Gobert’s way. He found Gobert on a couple of brilliant feeds en route to the big man’s 17-point, 12-rebound showing.
Minnesota led by as many as 17 points in the second half as New Orleans briefly unraveled amid complaints about the officiating. The Pelicans accumulated three technicals in a span of seconds, including two on coach Willie Green that sent him to the locker room early.
But that flurry of frustration seemed to spark the Pelicans, who were able to close the contest to a four-point deficit in the final 2 minutes, but that was all the closer they’d get. Jaden McDaniels hit a pair of big jumpers — a mid-range shot in isolation and an open triple from the wing — to help put the contest on ice.
New Orleans — once a lock to finish with a top-four seed in the West and home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs — has now lost six straight games. Zion Williamson remains out for the Pelicans, but Brandon Ingram returned from injury Wednesday after a lengthy absence. He struggled mightily, however, going 4 for 17 from the field and finishing with 13 points and four turnovers.
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