Pelicans-Timberwolves Preview

The Associated Press

The New Orleans Pelicans are coming off one of their most impressive wins of the season and are in position to climb back to .500.

They'll go for a fourth win in five games Wednesday night at Minnesota as they try to start 2014 as they ended 2013.

The Pelicans (14-15) got a season-high 31 points and 13 assists from Jrue Holiday in a 110-108 home win over Portland on Monday.

New Orleans shot 53.9 percent, held the NBA's top-scoring team to 44.3 percent, outrebounded the Trail Blazers 47-38 and turned the ball over just nine times.

"We definitely think we're getting a lot more confident in each other defensively," Holiday told the team's official website. "We're still learning each other. We're still young. Going into the new year, it's good to get a home win. As a team collectively, we know how good we can be. We know that it's a process and we need to kind of piggyback off this win."

The first-year Pelican went 7 for 12 in the fourth quarter after a 1-of-9 shooting night in Saturday's 107-98 loss at Houston.

"He was excellent in the fourth quarter," teammate Tyreke Evans said. "He was in control. That's what he's here for."

Anthony Davis had 27 points on 13-of-19 shooting to go with 12 rebounds and five blocks in his sixth game back from a broken hand. The Pelicans are 3-2 with Davis back in the starting lineup with the losses coming on the road against Portland and Houston by single digits.

They still aren't entirely healthy. New Orleans has played the last three games without starting guard Eric Gordon due to a bruised right hip, while center Jason Smith has missed four of five games with shoulder and knee injuries.

The Pelicans now open a four-game road trip against a Timberwolves team that's also hovering around .500.

Minnesota (15-16) started a three-game homestand Monday with a 100-98 loss to Dallas, falling to 0-8 when failing to score 100 points.

The Wolves had won their previous two games against Washington and Milwaukee by an average of 22.0 points, but they fell behind by 19 at halftime against the Mavericks before tying the game entering the fourth quarter.

"If we play like we did in the second half, we are going to get through this, it's just disappointing," coach Rick Adelman told the Wolves' official website. "We got back (to .500) and we just couldn't get over it."

Kevin Love led the way with 36 points and 11 rebounds. It was his third-highest point total of the season, but Minnesota is 0-3 in those games.

Center Nikola Pekovic had his fifth straight double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds as Minnesota failed to win three straight for the first time since opening the season 3-0.

"We just can't get over the hump, it's tough for us," Pekovic said. "But like coach said, we are on the right course, we just need to keep fighting, keep playing better."

The Wolves have won the last two meetings with the Pelicans, both coming in Minnesota without Love in the lineup.

The Pelicans waived reserve forward Lou Amundson on Tuesday. The eight-year veteran played in 18 games for New Orleans this season, averaging 2.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 0.6 blocks in 10.2 minutes.