The New Orleans Pelicans could not hang on in Sunday’s chaotic regular-season finale, falling to the Minnesota Timberwolves 113-105.
New Orleans was in control virtually the entire game – especially amid turmoil on Minnesota’s bench in which Rudy Gobert threw a punch at Kyle Anderson in a now-viral dispute. That is until the Pelicans allowed the Timberwolves to grab their first lead of the game at 86-85 with 11:26 left in the fourth.
It was then a back-and-forth affair before Minnesota pulled away in the final minute of play. New Orleans’ downfall hinged on a season-low 14.3 shooting percentage from beyond the arc and giving up three key offensive rebounds in the final period of play.
“Small things we can correct,” Pelicans head coach Willie Green said. “This was a game that was gettable for us.”
Karl Anthony-Towns led the Timberwolves with 30 points, 12 of which came in the final frame while Anthony Edwards finished with a double-double of 26 points and 13 rebounds. For New Orleans, Brandon Ingram (42 points, 12 rebounds) and Jonas Valanciunas (11 points, 18 rebounds) each posted double-doubles.
With the win, Minnesota (42-20) finished in eighth place and will travel to Los Angeles to play the seven-seed Lakers (43-39) while New Orleans dropped down to the ninth seed and will now host 10th-place Oklahoma City (40-42) in an elimination game Wednesday night.