Hornets104, Timberwolves 92

Peter Finney Jr., The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

NEW ORLEANS -- Despite early foul trouble, Greivis Vasquez scored 18 points and dished out 13 assists as the New Orleans Hornets defeated the undermanned Minnesota Timberwolves 104-92 Friday night at the New Orleans Arena.
Eric Gordon added 16 points as New Orleans erased an early 18-point deficit to get the win.
The Hornets (11-25) won their fourth consecutive game -- their longest winning streak of the season -- to improve their record to 11-25.
Minnesota (16-17) played with only nine players, due to injuries to All-Star forward Kevin Love and Brandon Roy. They also were without head coach Rick Adelman, who missed his third consecutive game while tending to his ill wife, Mary Kay, at a Minneapolis hospital.
The Timberwolves closed the first quarter on a 20-2 run to take command, 29-14. Luke Ridnour had seven points and Andrei Kirilenko added five to key the surge, and the Hornets went 5 1/2 minutes without scoring. The Timberwolves also forced the Hornets into seven first-quarter turnovers.
Minnesota led 39-22 when the Hornets ran off 10 consecutive points, sparked by Gordon's floater in the lane and fast-break layup. Gordon, who made just 3-of-20 3-pointers entering the game, made a jumper from the top of the key. His 3-pointer drew the Hornets within 46-40 at halftime.
Ridnour had 13 first-half points and Pekovic added 12 for Minnesota, which continued to pound the ball inside, scoring 30 of its 46 points in the paint. Greivis Vasquez played only 7 minutes in the first half for New Orleans after picking up three fouls.
The Hornets turned it on in the third quarter, outscoring the Timberwolves 30-15 by shooting 14 of 25 from the floor. New Orleans opened the quarter with a 10-4 run, keyed by a layup and a dunk by rookie forward Anthony Davis. After Minnesota closed within 59-58 with 3:03 left in the third quarter, the Hornets went on another 17-5 run to pull away.
Minnesota got 20 points from Ridnour, 18 from Nikola Pekovic and 17 from Andrei Kirilenko. New Orleans got 15 points from Ryan Anderson, and Al-Farouq Aminu sparked the Hornets' fast break with 13 rebounds.
Notes: Timberwolves assistant coach Terry Porter filled in for Adelman. ... In addition to All-Star forward Love (fractured right hand) and guard Roy (right knee), the Timberwolves played without guards J.J. Barea (back spasms) and Malcolm Lee (hyperextended right knee). "Guys just have to step up," Porter said. "These guys will have to lean on each other and do a little bit more." ... In a 113-102 victory at New Orleans Dec. 14, the Timberwolves scored 70 points in the paint. ... The Hornets had strung together three consecutive victories for the first time this season. "We just try our best to keep things in perspective," Hornets coach Monty Williams said. "If we were going to focus on streaks, we'd have to focus on all of them. We just got off of an 11-game losing streak." ... Rookie guard Austin Rivers, the 10th overall pick in the 2012 draft, has struggled with his shooting, going 3-of-22 in his previous five games. "Austin needs to not get so down when he's not scoring 40 and 50 points like he did in high school and understand that we have confidence in his abilities, because we know he can play," Williams said.

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