By JON KRAWCZYNSKI
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) ANTHONY DAVIS had 42 points and 13 rebounds to win a duel with KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS and lift the New Orleans Pelicans to a 122-106 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.
Davis hit 16 of 22 shots, including two 3-pointers, and JRUE HOLIDAY had 25 points and 12 assists to get the Pelicans off to a good start on their final road trip before hosting the All-Star game next weekend. New Orleans shot a season-high 60 percent from the field and hit 12 3-pointers.
Towns scored 36 points and ANDREW WIGGINS had 29 for the Timberwolves, who dropped to 1-3 on a season-long six-game homestand. The Wolves were outrebounded 43-34 and heard boos in the fourth quarter while struggling on defense.
BUDDY HIELD scored 17 points on 7-for-10 shooting for the Pelicans.
The featured attraction Friday night was Davis vs. Towns, a showdown between two Kentucky Wildcats who have become two of the best big men in the NBA. It lived up its billing, with both putting their varied skills on display.
Davis hit 10 of his first 11 shots, including a 3-pointer and a terrific, right-handed runner that came while gliding through the lane and floating away from the basket.
Towns was every bit Davis’s equal early, throwing down a soaring putback dunk, a right-handed hook right over Davis’s outstretched arm and an acrobatic three-point play.
But Towns picked up his fourth foul midway through the third quarter and the Pelicans made their move. They scored 37 points in the period, turning a four-point deficit into a nine-point lead going into the fourth.
New Orleans has only shot better than 50 percent six times this season, but it buried every open look against Minnesota’s struggling defense. LANGSTON GALLOWAY knocked down a 3 and Davis threw down a dunk to push the lead to 17 midway through the fourth, ending all doubt.
Pelicans: Davis scored 40 for the sixth time this season, and it was his highest scoring game since he put up 45 on the Wolves in New Orleans on Nov. 23. … G E’TWAUN MOORE (personal reasons), F ALEXIS AJINCA (personal reasons), F TERRENCE JONES (right thumb sprain) and G TYREKE EVANS (left ankle sprain) did not play. … F OMER ASIK picked up four fouls in four minutes in the first half.
Pelicans: New Orleans heads to Sacramento on Sunday for a game against another great Kentucky big man, DEMARCUS COUSINS.
Timberwolves: Minnesota continues its six-game homestand on Sunday against coach Tom Thibodeau’s former team, the Chicago Bulls.