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Davis leads Pelicans past sinking Timberwolves 110-88

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Anthony Davis had 28 points and nine rebounds, and the New Orleans Pelicans defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 110-88 on Sunday.

Omer Asik had 15 points for New Orleans, which won its second straight while pulling two games behind Oklahoma City for the Western Conference’s final playoff spot before the Thunder played at Phoenix later Sunday night.

Eric Gordon added 12 points for the Pelicans, who shot 57.3 percent and were never threatened after opening a double-digit lead early in the fourth quarter.

Andrew Wiggins had 20 points and Zach LaVine 17 for the Timberwolves.

Robbie Hummel returned to Minnesota’s lineup after missing 29 games with a fractured right hand, while Anthony Bennett came back from a right ankle sprain that sidelined him 18 games. They played limited minutes as the Wolves lost for the 10th time in 12 games.

Quincy Pondexter, Norris Cole and Alexis Ajinca each scored 10 for New Orleans, which has nine games left — six on the road — to try to sneak into the playoffs.

Minnesota was as close as 53-49 early in the third quarter after LaVine hit a 3 and added a slam dunk one possession later.

The Pelicans responded with a 9-2 spurt that began with Asik’s dunk and included five points by Davis on a pair of layups, one of which became a three-point play when he was fouled by former LSU standout Justin Hamilton (who also was briefly with the Pelicans this season).

Wiggins scored five points during a 7-0 Minnesota run to close the third quarter. That got the Wolves back within single digits, but New Orleans pulled away for good after that.

The Pelicans scored the first seven points of the game and led by as many as 14 late in the first quarter, when Davis scored his ninth point on a free throw, making it 25-11.

Minnesota closed the gap in the second quarter, when Wiggins threw down a pair of high-flying dunks and scored his first eight points.

Bennett’s free throws got the Wolves as close as 41-39 before New Orleans ended the period on a 9-2 run highlighted by Evans’ 3 and Asik’s dunk, giving the Pelicans a 50-41 lead at halftime.

TIP-INS

Timberwolves: Minnesota guard Ricky Rubio missed his sixth straight game with a sore left ankle, but coach Flip Saunders said he hoped Rubio could return for the Wolves’ next game. … Kevin Garnett missed his 12th straight game. Initially, he’d been sidelined by left knee soreness, but Saunders said Garnett was ill on Sunday and stayed in the team hotel in New Orleans during the game. … Minnesota lost its 30th road game this season, having won just seven times away from home.

Pelicans: While New Orleans point guard Jrue Holiday (lower right leg injury) missed his 36th straight game and forward Ryan Anderson (sprained right knee) missed his 18th straight, coach Monty Williams said he is planning on both being back in the lineup before the regular season ends on April 15. … The Pelicans had their best defensive quarter of the season when they held the Wolves to 11 points in the first period.

UP NEXT

Timberwolves: Visit Utah on Monday

Pelicans: Visit Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.

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