Balanced Timberwolves roll past predictable Pelicans

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It was another night at the office for the New Orleans Center at Smoothie King Center.

That meant another poor job performance.

Minnesota put the Pelicans in the proverbial blender and reduced New Orleans to liquid in an easy 110-96 victory for the Timberwolves in a game that was not as close as the final score indicated.

After taking a 29-28 first quarter lead, the Pelicans disintegrated.

The game was decided in the second quarter as the Timberwolves blitzed New Orleans 38-21 to take a 66-50 lead at the half. That lead grew to 89-69 going to the final quarter, which was never competitive.

Without Zion Williamson and who knows when he will see the floor, the Pelicans have leaned heavily on Brandon Ingram in support of Jonas Valanciunas to produce offense.

While the latter is tough, good and consistent, the former has not been quite as tough, has not been very good and has not been consistent.

Ingram was awful, making just 2-of-13 shots, scoring just nine points in 37 minutes. Ingram also committed six turnovers. That assured that New Orleans had no shot.

Ingram has shot under 50 percent from the field in his last eight games.

In his last four games, Ingram is just 18-of-58 (31%) from the field while averaging just 14.2 points. Those numbers are way below what New Orleans needs out of its star, particularly without Williamson.

Valanciunas was hurt in the first half but he is so tough that he played through it, starting the second half. In foul trouble, Valanciunas scored 13 points in just 19 minutes.

In reserve, Billy Hernangomez played very well, scoring a team-high 19 points with 11 rebounds in just 22 minutes. Nickeil Alexander-Walker had 14 points off the bench. Kira Lewis added 10 points off the bench.

New Orleans was without Devonte’ Graham, which did not help. The Pelicans shot a woeful 18.8 percent from 3-point range (6-of-32).

The Pelicans committed a crushing 23 turnovers resulting in 28 points for Minnesota and the Timberwolves had 26 second chance points off 21 offensive rebounds.

Minnesota took 100 shots while New Orleans took just 87 as the Timberwolves outworked New Orleans all night.

The T-Wolves won despite shooting just 40 percent from the field, including only 22.7 percent from 3-point range. It did not matter.

Simply put, Minnesota played harder than the Pelicans, looking the part of the more motivated team throughout.

Now a woeful 3-16, the Pelicans host the Wizards Wednesday night. We will see how they show up for work on a different night.

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Ken Trahan

CEO/Owner

Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…

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