Timberwolves hand Pelicans sixth straight loss, despite Ingram’s return
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Anthony Edwards scored 37 points, Rudy Gobert had 17 points and 12 rebounds in his return from a groin injury, and the Minnesota Timberwolves spoiled Brandon Ingram’s return from a two-month absence with a 111-102 victory over the Pelicans on Wednesday night (Jan. 25).
Ingram, who had not played since Nov. 25 and had missed 29 games with a left toe injury, scored 13 points in his return to action at the Smoothie King Center. But the rust was more than apparent, as Ingram missed 14 of his 18 shots, including all six attempts from 3-point range.
The loss was the sixth in a row for the Pelicans.
D’Angelo Russell scored 19 points for the Timberwolves, who have won three of four. Jaden McDaniels closed out a 10-point night with a pull-up jumper and a 3-pointer in the final minutes to thwart New Orleans’ comeback bid.
C.J. McCollum scored 25 points and Jonas Valanciunas added 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Pelicans, who dropped their ninth in the 12 games missed by power forward Zion Williamson (right hamstring).
New Orleans’ frustration boiled over in the middle of the fourth quarter, when Jose Alvarado was called for a loose-ball foul after Austin Rivers’ missed 3 and then assessed a technical when he bounced the ball hard off the floor.
Pelicans coach Willie Green began screaming and gesticulating angrily and was assessed a technical foul. He had to be restrained by assistants as he continued lambasting officials and got himself ejected for the first time in his two seasons as a head coach with his second technical.
The crowd stood and roared in support of Green as he walked toward the tunnel, and then spectators launched into a disparaging chant about the officiating.
New Orleans trailed 102-87 after Minnesota hit three of the five free throws they were awarded, but the Pelicans responded by scoring the next nine points — all by McCollum — to make it 102-96 with 3:27 left.
McDaniels’ pull-up jumper stopped the run. And after Ingram hit a tough baseline turnaround and added two free throws to make it 104-100 with 1:41 left, McDaniels hit a pivotal 3 and the Pelicans did not threaten after that.
The Timberwolves trailed by eight early in the third quarter when Russell’s back-to-back 3s ignited a 9-0 run capped by Edwards’ driving layup as he was fouled.
After McCollum’s 3 briefly put the Pelicans back in front, 61-60, Edwards hit a 3 that started a 14-0 Minnesota run. The spurt included three dunks by Gobert — one a reverse and another an alley-oop.
Minnesota wound up outscoring New Orleans, 39-21, in the third quarter.
Ingram missed his first five shots before hitting a driving floater early in the second quarter and finished the half just 2 of 11.
Still, New Orleans led by as many as 12 in the second quarter when McCollum’s 3 made it 48-36.
Minnesota cut it to 52-46 at halftime after Edwards hit a driving finger roll that gave him 20 points in the opening 24 minutes.
Notes: The Pelicans’ Devonte’ Graham made all four shots he attempted — all from 3-point range, for 12 points. ... New Orelans shot 43.5% (37 of 85) and went 12 of 38 from deep. ... The Pels outrebounded Minnesota, 42-36. ... The Pelicans play host to Washington on Saturday night.
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