Towns has 27-27 game to lead Wolves past Pelicans, 110-106

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Karl-Anthony Towns had 27 points and a career-high 27 rebounds to help the Minnesota Timberwolves hold Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans for a 110-106 win on Saturday night which was the first home for interim head coach Ryan Saunders.

Towns waved a 3-pointer to make it 106-103 with 2:55, so the Timberwolves took the lead for good. He then blocked a 3-point try by Davis on the other side, creating a quick break that Tyus Jones ended with a lay-up.

Davis had 30 points and 14 rebounds for his 13th consecutive double-double. Jrue Holiday added 25 points and seven assists for the Pelicans, who trailed within 108-106 on the three-point game of Vacation with still 2:23.

But Towns blocked another 3-point Davis attempt with 1:37 on the left, which the Pelicans had put in front, and the Timberwolves took it from there. Jones and Dario Saric each added 14 points to 2-in-3 shots from the 3-point range of the bench to compensate for a 7-for-33 performance behind the arc by the rest of the team.

This was a crucial game for the Wolves, coming from a loss of four points to Dallas here the night before and facing a serious catch-up to do in the relentless Western Conference race to return to the playoffs. The Mavericks, Pelicans and Wolves all played in the evening for the 11th place, 2½ games under the cut.

The Wolves played without the second-leading scorer Derrick Rose, who missed all three games against the pelicans this season, as a precaution on the second of the back-to-back-nights due to his return on Friday from a six-game absence to a sprained right ankle.

Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelikans, drives, like Karl-Anthony Towns from Minnesota Timberwolves, in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Saturday January 12, 2019 in Minneapolis. (AP Photo / Jim Mone)

Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelikans, drives, like Karl-Anthony Towns from Minnesota Timberwolves, in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Saturday January 12, 2019 in Minneapolis. (AP Photo / Jim Mone)

The Pelicans brought with them a similar urgency, and began a piece of five straight road races against the opponents of Western Conference. They had lost stripes in the first half of their schedule of four, five and six consecutive games, with big lows.

TIP-INS

Pelicans: Julius Randle had his 21st double-double of the season, with 22 points and 11 rebounds. … E & # 39; Twaun Moore (bruised left quadriceps) came back from an absence of two games, but only had two points on 1-for-6 shoot in 31 minutes.

Timberwolves: Jeff Teague had two points and 10 assists in 21 minutes, but spent the fourth quarter on the bench after he seemed to worsen his ankle injury. … Luol Deng played for the first time in 13 games and only the fifth time the whole season, with an appearance in the second quarter.

BIG BLUE BIG MEN

These New Orleans-Minnesota matchups since Towns three seasons ago the competition emerged, and in the future as long as Davis stays with the Pelicans, have often shown two of the best big men of the NBA in a productive duel of a new school the low post but sometimes also on the perimeter.

They were both first general choices in design, three years after the professional basketball player factory in Kentucky under coach John Calipari. Whether Davis and Towns actually play against each other with more intensity is difficult to measure, but their lines in the box score are almost always full.

"I'm sure Cal uses this as a recruitment tool," said Pelikanencoach Alvin Gentry, "but you play big matches every night against big Kentucky players, so it's not a big deal for those guys."

During their first five meetings in Minnesota, Towns averaged 25.2 points and 13.8 rebounds against New Orleans. Davis averaged 30.4 points and 10 rebounds.

NEXT ONE

Pelicans: face the Clippers in Los Angeles on Monday.

Timberwolves: Play Tuesday in Philadelphia, their first game against the 76ers since All-Star Jimmy Butler was traded there two months ago. The wolves are 17-13 since the deal.

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Minnesota Timberwolves & Andrew Wiggins left, drives past Anthony Davis of New Orleans Pelikans in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Saturday, January 12, 2019 in Minneapolis. (AP Photo / Jim Mone)

Minnesota Timberwolves & Andrew Wiggins left, drives past Anthony Davis of New Orleans Pelikans in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Saturday, January 12, 2019 in Minneapolis. (AP Photo / Jim Mone)

Minnesota Timberwolves & Andrew Wiggins left, drives past Anthony Davis of New Orleans Pelikans in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Saturday, January 12, 2019 in Minneapolis. (AP Photo / Jim Mone)

Minnesota Timberwolves & Karl-Anthony Towns, left, shoots Anthony Davis of New Orleans Pelikans in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Saturday, January 12, 2019 in Minneapolis. (AP Photo / Jim Mone)

Minnesota Timberwolves & Karl-Anthony Towns, left, shoots Anthony Davis of New Orleans Pelikans in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Saturday, January 12, 2019 in Minneapolis. (AP Photo / Jim Mone)

Minnesota Timberwolves & Karl-Anthony Towns, left, shoots Anthony Davis of New Orleans Pelikans in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Saturday, January 12, 2019 in Minneapolis. (AP Photo / Jim Mone)

New Orleans Pelikans & Anthony Davis, left, looks at the ball as Minnesota Timberwolves & # 39; Gorgui Dieng, from Senegal, defends in the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, January 12, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo / Jim Mone)

New Orleans Pelikans & Anthony Davis, left, looks at the ball as Minnesota Timberwolves & # 39; Gorgui Dieng, from Senegal, defends in the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, January 12, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo / Jim Mone)

New Orleans Pelikans & Anthony Davis, left, looks at the ball as Minnesota Timberwolves & # 39; Gorgui Dieng, from Senegal, defends in the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, January 12, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo / Jim Mone)

Minnesota Timberwolves interim head coach Ryan Saunders watches the first half of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans pelicans, Saturday, January 12, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo / Jim Mone)

Minnesota Timberwolves interim head coach Ryan Saunders watches the first half of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans pelicans, Saturday, January 12, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo / Jim Mone)

Minnesota Timberwolves interim head coach Ryan Saunders watches the first half of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans pelicans, Saturday, January 12, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo / Jim Mone)

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