Postgame wrap: Timberwolves 110, Pelicans 106

Timberwolves (21-22), Pelicans (20-23)
by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

MINNEAPOLIS – New Orleans rallied from a first-half double-digit deficit and had a chance to pull out a road victory late to open a critical five-game trip, but Minnesota made more big plays in crunch time. The Pelicans had several very good stretches and played the Timberwolves evenly for much of Saturday’s matchup, but once again didn’t quite have enough to pull off a win away from New Orleans, dropping to 5-17 on the road.

The Pelicans, whose three-game winning streak came to an end, will travel to Los Angeles late Saturday, facing the Clippers on Monday. New Orleans slipped to one game behind Minnesota in the extremely competitive Western Conference standings.

IT WAS OVER WHEN…

New Orleans couldn’t convert on two straight close-range two-point shots in an attempt to cut Minnesota’s lead in half, sealing the home team’s victory. The Wolves eventually got the ball and called time with 2.7 seconds remaining, ahead by two possessions at 110-106.

PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME

Jrue Holiday was so active on the defensive end that he twice blocked a Minnesota three-point shot, a rarity in the NBA for any player to pull off, let alone a guard like Holiday. In a team-high 40 minutes, he finished with 25 points, six rebounds and seven assists, shooting 12/22 from the field.

FOCUS ON: ANOTHER NARROW DEFEAT

The most frustrating aspect of New Orleans’ road woes is that the Pelicans are rarely blown out, often losing when the outcome isn’t settled until the final few minutes. That was the case again Saturday. New Orleans is 7-16 overall in clutch games (as measured by NBA.com), which is the second-worst record in the league, ahead of only Cleveland at 4-10. In road games only, the Pelicans are 1-12 in clutch games, the poorest mark in the NBA (Dallas, which has also struggled mightily on the road, is 2-10 in clutch away games).

On Saturday, New Orleans led 103-101 with 3:59 remaining, but only scored three points the rest of the way, on a Holiday three-point play at 2:23. The Pelicans shot 0/5 in the final two minutes, including three deep misses from beyond the three-point arc. On one of those, Towns came up with a timely block at 1:37.

BY THE NUMBERS

36-17: Minnesota bench scoring advantage. Dario Saric and Tyus Jones each tallied 14 points.

5/25: New Orleans three-point shooting. It was the Pelicans’ second-worst game of the season percentage-wise.

7, 4: Plus-minus for Elfrid Payton and Nikola Mirotic, respectively, two of the Pelicans who’ve most recently returned to the lineup from injury.

Towns vs Davis: Battle Of The Bigs

Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Davis put on a show in Minnesota Saturday night.

Game 43: Pelicans at Timberwolves 1/12/19

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Towns vs Davis: Battle Of The Bigs

Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Davis put on a show in Minnesota Saturday night.
Jan 12, 2019  |  00:00

Highlights: Jrue Holiday - Pelicans Vs. Timberwolves

Jrue Holiday scores 25 points in the Pelicans loss to the Timberwolves.
Jan 12, 2019  |  00:00

Jrue with the late And-1

Jrue Holiday keeps control and gets the late and-1 to keep with Pelicans within two
Jan 12, 2019  |  00:13

Jrue Holiday drives and dunks

Jrue Holiday sees a lane and blasts by the defense for the dunk
Jan 12, 2019  |  00:17

Anthony Davis with the strong up-and-under

Anthony Davis takes the entry and goes up and under Šarić
Jan 12, 2019  |  00:13

Jrue goes behind the back for the bucket

Jrue Holiday shows patience on the penetration and gets the bucket off the nice handles
Jan 12, 2019  |  00:15

Anthony Davis Huge Alley-Oop Dunk

Anthony Davis skies for the alley-oop dunk from Jrue Holiday
Jan 12, 2019  |  00:15

Holiday to AD off the steal

Holiday finds Anthony Davis for the dunk off the Elfrid Payton steal
Jan 12, 2019  |  00:28

Elfrid with the heads up buzzer beater

Elfrid Payton with the heads up putback at the buzzer
Jan 12, 2019  |  00:22

Holiday to Anthony Davis Alley-Oop

Jrue Holiday finds Anthony Davis for the sweet alley-oop
Jan 12, 2019  |  00:22

AD showing off the range

Anthony Davis continues his hot shooting from long distance
Jan 12, 2019  |  00:15

AD with the triple

Anthony Davis starts the night out from downtown
Jan 12, 2019  |  00:13

Highlights: Anthony Davis - Pelicans Vs. Timberwolves

Anthony Davis finishes with 30 points and 14 rebounds in the Pelicans loss to the Timberwolves.
Jan 12, 2019  |  00:01

Pelicans Road Trip Preview: Minnesota

Daniel Sallerson and Jim Eichenhofer preview the first game of the Pelicans five game road trip that begins in Minneapolis this Saturday at 7pm vs the Minnesota Timberwolves
Jan 11, 2019  |  03:29

Okafor bulls his way to the bucket

Jahlil Okafor forces himself down low for the tough bucket
Dec 31, 2018  |  00:25
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