Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Dante Cunningham scored 18 points on a
perfect 9-of-9 shooting from the field and Nikola Pekovic added 14 points and
seven rebounds as the Minnesota Timberwolves crushed the New Orleans Hornets,
115-86, at Target Center.
Andrei Kirilenko and Alexey Shved netted 12 points apiece for the
Timberwolves, who emphatically ended a six-game losing streak. Mickael
Gelabale contributed 11 points and five rebounds in the win.
Anthony Davis scored 18 points and Robin Lopez donated 16 for the Hornets, who
have lost four straight road tilts and six of their last seven games overall.
After Derrick Williams nailed two free throws to increase the home team's lead
to 17-11, the offense didn't stop and the Wolves ended the first stanza on a
16-3 flurry which gave them a convincing, 33-14 edge.
The lead even grew to 30 points (55-25), with Pekovic's layup at the 3:31 mark
of the second quarter. One night after Minnesota allowed the Lakers to put up
68 first-half points in Friday's loss, the Timberwolves came close to matching
Los Angeles' output, and led 58-31 at halftime.
The Hornets connected on just 10 field goals in the first half, compared to
the Wolves, who connected on 23-of-38 shots from the field.
Little changed into the second half, as the Wolves kept building on their lead
and led by no less than 23 points for the entire third quarter.
Ricky Rubio brought the finally happy home crowd to its feet in the third, as
he wrapped the ball around his back on a fastbreak, faking out two defenders,
before laying the ball in Pekovic's hands for an easy basket and 67-42 lead.
"Both sides thought it was a winnable game," Williams said. "D.C.
(Cunningham) shot the ball well tonight and that helped. We all just felt
Minnesota cruised to its much-needed victory in the fourth quarter, while New
Orleans barely provided any sparks as the game winded down.
"I think unforced turnovers (were the issue)," Lopez said. "That, we
simply cant allow. It happened in Denver. That's probably why the Nuggets
won the game too."
Cunningham's 9-of-9 shooting effort not only helped him establish a new
season-high, but it also set a new franchise record for most consecutive shots
without a miss ... Shved dished out eight assists and pulled down four boards
and J.J. Barea dished out six helpers in the win ... The Timberwolves shot
58.4 percent from the floor, despite turning the ball over 18 times.