The Minnesota Timberwolves will go for their second win in a row to open the season when they host the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday evening in Minneapolis.
Minnesota is coming off a dominant 124-106 victory over the Houston Rockets in its season opener Wednesday night. The Timberwolves held a 72-45 lead at halftime and never looked back as they shot 48.3 percent from the field and sank 16 3-pointers.
Karl-Anthony Towns had 30 points and 10 rebounds in the win, and Anthony Edwards finished with 29 points while draining six of his 12 attempts from 3-point range.
Long-distance shooting was a point of emphasis for Edwards during the offseason.
“In order for the lane to open up, you’ve got to shoot threes or make them respect the jumper,” Edwards said. “For me to get downhill — which I’m very good at — I’ve got to hit jumpers. That’s why I worked on it so much.”
Meanwhile, New Orleans is searching for its first win after sustaining consecutive losses to the Philadelphia 76ers and Chicago Bulls. The Pelicans fell short by 20 points against Philadelphia, then lost 128-112 on Friday at Chicago.
Brandon Ingram provided a bright spot for New Orleans against the Bulls by scoring 26 points, grabbing eight rebounds and dishing eight assists. Jonas Valanciunas made eight of his 11 shots and finished with 18 points and eight boards.
However, New Orleans could not limit its opponents’ scoring for the second game in a row. Now, the Pelicans will try to regroup on short rest in another hostile environment.
Pelicans first-year coach Willie Green has earned the respect of his team despite a difficult start. Green played in 731 NBA games, making 297 starts, during 12 seasons with five teams.
“Great demeanor for an NBA head coach in this day and age, in my opinion,” Pelicans guard Garrett Temple said when asked about Green. “Very poised, very calm. He’s serious, but not too serious. He can command a room and has a presence about him that you need, but he’s also very easy to talk to, which is something you also need.”
Veteran guard Patrick Beverley will make his debut for the Timberwolves after serving a one-game suspension in the season opener for shoving Chris Paul during the Western Conference finals. Minnesota acquired the 33-year-old during the offseason to provide a defensive spark on the court and leadership off of it.
“(I’m) excited to get out there and compete, of course, go out there and get better,” Beverley said. “Build it brick by brick until we have a nice, pretty house at the end of the year.”
Timberwolves guard D’Angelo Russell will look to continue his hot start. He had 22 points and seven assists in his season debut.
The teams faced each other three times last season, with the Timberwolves holding a 2-1 advantage. Minnesota posted a 120-110 win on Jan. 23 and a 135-105 victory on March 11, but New Orleans responded with a 140-136 overtime triumph on May 1.
–Field Level Media