Thu, 02 Dec 2021

Pelicans will have hands full with surging Timberwolves

Field Level Media
22 Nov 2021, 09:40 GMT+10

The Minnesota Timberwolves have won three consecutive home games by double figures, and now they'll try to continue that level of play on the road Monday when they visit the New Orleans Pelicans.

"We needed that," Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said. "We talked about coming back off that (1-3) road trip and how our season in many ways restarted now. We had to start making up some ground, and get going here and take advantage of the schedule we have here at home. So, guys were very, very locked in and now we just have to maintain that."

Minnesota was most dominant in the final game of the homestand, routing the Memphis Grizzlies 138-95 Saturday night.

The Wolves' 42-point lead after three quarters was their largest ever entering the fourth quarter. They made 58 percent of their 3-pointers in the first three quarters and 49 percent for the game.

Minnesota had lost eight of nine before this winning streak.

"It was a great week for us, put us right where we want to be as far as in the standings," forward Jarred Vanderbilt said. "We're just playing high-level basketball on both ends. Everybody is locked in, everybody is engaged."

D'Angelo Russell scored 28 points, making nine of 15 shots. Anthony Edwards made his first five 3-pointers and scored 17 of his 23 points in the first quarter.

"The mindset was just to set the tone early, just be the aggressor, be more physical than them from the jump," Vanderbilt said. "I feel like we did that and it set the tone for the game.

"We're playing a fun style of basketball where it's fun to play, fun to watch."

The Pelicans, meantime, were outscored 38-18 in the third quarter at Indiana to fall behind by 32 points on their way to a 111-94 loss Saturday night.

"We just didn't come out with the energy and execution that we needed," Pelicans coach Willie Green said. "I told the guys in order to be a good team, a team that we want to be, we have to win games like this. We have to come in and compete and execute."

New Orleans was completing a set of back-to-back games after beating the visiting Los Angeles Clippers on Friday.

"We didn't have the same energy level as the last game," said Naji Marshall, who scored 14 points off the bench.

Leading scorer Brandon Ingram, who returned Nov. 13 from a seven-game absence due to a hip contusion, didn't score until the Pelicans were down by 20 points in the second quarter and finished with a season-low 12 points.

"He's still finding his rhythm," Green said. "Not scoring as high as he would like, we would like. But I have to do a better job of putting him in a position to score. The defense is loaded up on him. We'll take a look at it in the next couple of days and try to open up the floor for him."

--Field Level Media

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