The Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 118-107 Saturday night to complete a season sweep. The Wolves’ record now stands at 34-22 overall, 22-6 at home, and 25-9 against the Western Conference. The Pelicans fall to 28-24.
The Wolves came out of the gates strong, taking a quick 9-0 lead, and attacking the paint. Of the team’s first 22 points, 16 came from within the lane, a tactic no doubt in response to the Pelicans losing All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins for the year due to a ruptured Achilles tendon.
Antony Davis (who finished with 38 points and nine rebounds) was a monster for New Orleans in the opening frame, scoring 19 points. Davis was perfect from the field in the first half when somebody other than Karl-Anthony Towns was guarding him (Towns held him to 2-of-7 from the field in the first 24 minutes).
The Wolves lead 37-29 after one and never looked back.
Jimmy Butler (30 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists) and Towns (22 points, 16 rebounds, and one assist) lead the way for the Wolves in front of a star-studded crowd. Notables in attendance included football star Antonio Brown, future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez, Sting, Shaggy, minor league baseball player Tim Tebow, and even the mayor of FlavorTown himself!
— Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) February 4, 2018
Andrew Wiggins (three rebounds, +15) and Tyus Jones (6-of-9 from the field in 20 minutes) each contributed 15 points and Taj Gibson added 12 points and nine rebounds. Newly acquired Nikola Mirotic posted 18 points and 12 rebounds in 33 minutes off the bench for the Pelicans.
The Wolves controlled this one from the opening tip, leading wire-to-wire. This was due in large part to the Pelicans playing the Oklahoma City Thunder the night prior as well as the Wolves shooting 10-of-21 from the three-point line; Butler and Towns combined to go 5-of-8.
New Orleans simply didn’t have the firepower or legs to contend with the Wolves sans Boogie Cousins and on the second night of a home-road back-to-back, but they can’t really be criticized for not trying. Since the two teams last played one month ago their roster has undergone myriad changes, including swapping guards Tony Allen and Jameer Nelson, big man Omer Asik, and a first-round pick for Mirotic and signing former Sun Mike James as well as Emeka Okafor (yes that Emeka Okafor) out of the G League. They were also in the sweepstakes for former Suns center Greg Monroe before he ultimately signed with the Boston Celtics.
The Target Center’s transition from a stadium half-filled with apathy to impenetrable home base seemingly overnight has been a pleasant development for the Wolves; they’ve now won 12 straight within the friendly and newly renovated confines of 600 N First Avenue. The Wolves’ 22-6 home record is now tied with the San Antonio Spurs for second-best, the two teams trailing only the Toronto Raptors (20-4) in terms of percentage.
The Wolves are next in action on Wednesday, February 7th against the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers (30-21). Tip is set for 7 pm.
- It was reported prior to the game that Shabazz Muhammad has requested to be traded or released prior to Thursday’s (February 8th) trade deadline. This shouldn’t come as a shock has Muhammad has fallen out of the rotation almost entirely and he has reportedly hired a new agent to speed up the process. Muhammad was re-signed to a two-year, minimum level contract (the second year is a player option) this past offseason and figured to be a strong bench scoring option for the Wolves. Due to his inconsistent and overall vastly underwhelming play, it would be shocking to see another team trade for Muhammad at this point; waiving him figures to be the most likely path.
- Listen to Jim Petersen tell a hilarious story about Prince.
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) February 4, 2018