NBA News Wire

Davis powers Pelicans past Timberwolves

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NEW ORLEANS — For Anthony Davis, other than winning a national championship at Kentucky, Friday was about as good as it gets.

Finding out just a few hours before tipoff against the Minnesota Timberwolves that he had been named to his first All-Star game as an injury replacement for Kobe Bryant, the New Orleans Pelicans’ second-year forward scored 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and showed a national TV audience his full athletic arsenal in a 98-91 comeback victory over the Timberwolves at the Smoothie King Center.

“It’s great, man,” Davis said after leading the Pelicans from a 71-61 third-quarter deficit. “I’ve got to enjoy it while I can. The thing is, we’ve got to keep pushing. You can’t get too happy. At the same time, you’ve got to enjoy it.”

In winning for the sixth time in eight games, the Pelicans (22-27) had plenty to celebrate. Guard Eric Gordon scored nine of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, reserve guard Anthony Morrow nailed three critical 3-pointers in the final 9:16 and point guard Brian Roberts, playing for the injured Jrue Holiday, canned a 20-footer from the right wing with 22.9 seconds left to put the game out of reach, 96-91.

Shooting 65 percent from the field (13 of 20), the Pelicans outscored the Timberwolves 37-20 in the fourth quarter, holding Minnesota to 33 percent shooting and forcing five turnovers.

“We gave up 37 points in the fourth quarter,” said Minnesota coach Rick Adelman. “We came out in the fourth quarter and didn’t play well at either end. I just thought our decision-making offensively wasn’t very good. Everyone was trying to do it for themselves.”

Minnesota (24-25) got a game-high 26 points from forward Kevin Love, including 14 at the foul line, but the Timberwolves could not survive five fourth-quarter turnovers. Love also finished with 18 rebounds, but he was just 1 of 5 in the final quarter and missed all three of his long-range jumpers.

Minnesota led 75-66 on a driving layup by guard J.J. Barea with 10:01 left, prompting Williams to call a timeout. New Orleans scored the next seven points, including a 3-pointer by Morrow, to cut the deficit to 75-73, and that was the beginning of a 32-16 run to end the game.

In the last four games, Morrow, a perimeter shooter who struggled earlier in the season, has made 8 of 9 from 3-point range.

“We’ve got a lot of guys who can penetrate and are willing passers,” Morrow said. “Guys are stepping up when they get the opportunity to play.”

Morrow said the Pelicans were especially pumped up playing a rare game on national television and wanted to show the rest of the league how Davis, their franchise player, was deserving of All-Star recognition.

“I’m so proud of that kid,” Morrow said of Davis, who recorded his 23rd double-double of the season. “He’s like my little brother. He’s one of the hardest-working guys I’ve ever seen, and he’s going to represent all of us. And he’s very humble. If there’s anybody who deserves it, it’s him.”,” said Pelicans coach Monty Williams. “To be selected for the All-Star game in the afternoon and to play like that on national TV and in front of the world, that’s pretty cool. It’s a lot for a 20-year-old. He’s just starting to scratch the surface on what he can do. That’s just him. I’d like to take credit for all that.”

Timberwolves forward Corey Brewer tried to stop the New Orleans run with a dunk off a full-court feed from Love, but Morrow added another 3-pointer from the top of the key and Gordon put New Orleans on top 78-77 with a two-handed dunk after leaving Brewer in the dust with a crossover baseline move.

The Timberwolves dominated at the free throw line through three quarters, hitting eight foul shots during a 10-0 run that padded their lead to 71-59. Entering the fourth quarter, Minnesota had outscored the Pelicans 24-6 at the line and Love was 9 of 10.

NOTES: Pelicans second-year F Anthony Davis received thrilling news on Friday when new NBA commissioner Adam Silver named him as an injury replacement for Lakers G Kobe Bryant on the Western Conference All-Star team. The game will played next Sunday in New Orleans. Davis is averaging 20.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game. “It’s a great opportunity for me,” Davis said. “I’m excited playing in the game. I was speechless. I didn’t know what to say. I thought he was joking around, but it’s fun and I’m glad I got picked.” … New Orleans coach Monty Williams said Davis deserved the nod. “After having to tell him the first time that he didn’t make it, I can’t express how happy I am for him,” Williams said. “He was speechless and laughing — and he’s 20.” … Minnesota coach Rick Adelman also said Davis deserved the spot. “He’s the leading shot blocker in the league,” Adelman said.