for this game

Pelicans cruise past injury-plaged T-Wolves

Mar 30, 2015 - 1:27 AM New Orleans, LA ( - Anthony Davis' 28 points and nine rebounds carried the New Orleans Pelicans to a much-needed 110-88 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves Sunday at Smoothie King Center.

The Pelicans never trailed in a game they had to have to remain in contention for the Western Conference's final playoff spot, earning the victory by shooting 57.3 percent and forcing the decimated Timberwolves into 21 turnovers.

"We understand how close we are to making the playoffs," Davis said. "We have to continue to play like this every night in order to make it. So in our eyes, every game now is a playoff game for us."

Omer Asik contributed 15 points on a 7-of-9 field goal rate for New Orleans, with Eric Gordon adding 12 points and seven assists.

Andrew Wiggins recorded 20 points and fellow rookie Zach LaVine had 17 for Minnesota, with Adreian Payne finishing with 14 points and 11 rebounds in defeat.

The Pelicans started strong, scoring the game's first seven points and speeding out to an 18-6 lead eight minutes in as Minnesota struggled mightily on the offensive end. The Timberwolves went just 5-of-17 from the field and committed seven turnovers during the opening quarter, with New Orleans owning a 25-11 advantage at the period's end.

"We just didn't come out strong in the first quarter," Wiggins said. "We spent the rest of the game trying to come back from the hole we dug ourselves."

Minnesota did fare considerably better in the second quarter, closing the gap behind a 13-2 run that trimmed its deficit to 38-35 with 3:50 to go in the half. Payne deposited six points during the surge.

However, the Pelicans finished out the stanza on a 9-2 spurt, highlighted by a Tyreke Evans 3-pointer and Asik's slam with 17.3 seconds left, to go up 50-41 at the break.

LaVine then caught fire to begin the second half, with the rookie pouring in eight points over the first three minutes of the third quarter. After burying a trey to pull the Timberwolves within 53-47, the reigning Slam Dunk champion threw one down following a Pelicans' turnover to cut the lead to four.

New Orleans again had an answer, as Davis led a 9-2 run that brought the margin back to double digits. The Pelicans were ahead by 14 before Minnesota ended the third quarter on a 7-0 spurt, which Wiggins ignited with a three- point play, to make it a 77-70 game entering the fourth.

The Timberwolves never got closer, though, as New Orleans scored 11 of the first 13 points of the final frame. Davis accounted for seven during the flurry, which sent the Pelicans up by an 88-72 count with 9:26 remaining.

Game Notes

The Pelicans entered Sunday's play 2 1/2 games behind Oklahoma City for the West's No. 8 seed ... Alexis Ajinca posted 10 points and eight rebounds off the bench for New Orleans ... Minnesota went 2-of-12 from 3-point range ... New Orleans has won all three meetings between the teams this season, while the Timberwolves have now dropped four in a row as the visitor in the series.