Missing Towns and Russell, Wolves shake slump behind 20 from Reid
Naz Reid scored 20 points to lead a balanced offensive effort and the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the New Orleans Pelicans 120-110 on Saturday night.
Anthony Edwards scored 18 points and Jared Vanderbilt set career highs with 16 points and 11 rebounds for Minnesota, which snapped a four-game skid. Jarrett Culver and Malik Beasley each scored 16 points, and Jordan McLaughlin added 11.
Brandon Ingram led New Orleans with 30 points. Eric Bledsoe added 28 and Zion Williamson finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Pelicans, who have lost three straight and eight of their last nine.
Minnesota center Karl-Anthony Towns missed his fourth straight game after testing positive for the coronavirus on Jan. 15. The Timberwolves are 2-9 without Towns in the lineup this season.
“We have a lot of good players, talented players,” guard Ricky Rubio said, “but it’s a team sport. You can have a guy or two have huge nights, but you need everyone playing the game the right way to win.”
After trailing by a point at halftime, Minnesota used a 16-3 run to pull ahead. Reid and Vanderbilt each scored four points, and the Pelicans called a timeout after Beasley went coast to coast with for a layup that gave the Timberwolves a 75-69 lead.
Vanderbilt capped the run by tipping in a missed shot to put Minnesota head by 10. Bledsoe finally broke through for New Orleans when he put back his own miss, but Culver countered with a 3-pointer and an 82-71 Timberwolves lead.
The Pelicans went 4 1/2 minutes without a field goal over that stretch, missing 11 straight shots from the floor. Even after hitting its final two shots of the quarter, New Orleans shot 5 for 24 and missed all four of its 3-pointers in the third.
The Pelicans also committed 21 turnovers, which the Timberwolves converted into 20 points. That left New Orleans coach Stan Van Gundy questioning his team’s effort.
“I certainly will take my share of the blame, but we talked after the game, some guys are going to have to take some personable responsibility,” Van Gundy said. “You can’t have the guy you’re guarding playing harder than you on a regular basis.”
The Timberwolves pushed their lead to 18 midway through the fourth and kept New Orleans at arm’s length the rest of the way.
Pelicans: New Orleans wrapped up a six-game road swing with at 1-5 record. The Pelicans have played the sixth-toughest schedule in the NBA.
Timberwolves: Reid’s 20 points matched his career high. … The Wolves just missed having eight players in double figures. Rubio scored 9 points and added 7 assists, while Josh Okogie also had 9 points to go with 5 steals.
In addition to Towns, Minnesota forward Juancho Hernangomez was sidelined after a positive coronavirus test. Meanwhile, guard D’Angelo Russell (rest) also sat out, leaving the Wolves without their top two scorers (Towns and Russell) and top two rebounders (Towns and Hernangomez).
“The formula we talk about is defend, rebound and take care of the ball, and tonight the answers to that were no, no, and none," Van Gundy said.
The Pelicans return home for the start of a season-long six-game homestand. The stretch tips off with a Monday night matchup against the Spurs.
Minnesota travels to the Bay Area for a two-game set against the Warriors on Monday and Wednesday.