NEW ORLEANS -- Nikola Pekovic scored a season-high 31 points and Andrei Kirilenko added 21 points and 11 rebounds to overcome a lackluster shooting night by Kevin Love and lift the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 113-102 victory over the New Orleans Hornets Friday night at the New Orleans Arena.
In winning for the fifth time in six games, the Timberwolves broke open a 90-86 game by outscoring the Hornets 13-5 in a 2:51 stretch of the fourth quarter. They did most of their damage with second-chance baskets, getting tip-ins by Dante Cunningham and Kirilenko.
Overall, the Timberwolves (11-9) held a 70-42 advantage on the Hornets (5-17) in points in the paint. Minnesota built its edge inside with a 40-30 rebounding edge, including 14 on the offensive end.
The Hornets got a career-high 27 points from Austin Rivers, who scored 19 in the first half, and 20 points from Ryan Anderson.
Minnesota placed four other players in doubles figures, including Luke Ridnour with 15, Love with 14, Alexey Shved with 13 and Jose Juan Barea with 12.
The Hornets led 62-59, but Minnesota closed the third quarter on a 23-11 run, including nine points by Pekovic and two 3-pointers by Ridnour, to take an 82-73 lead after three quarters. The Timberwolves built their advantage despite a cold shooting night by Kevin Love, who missed 12 of his first 14 shots.
Rivers surpassed his season high in just two quarters, scoring 19 points, including 3-of-3 from long range, to help keep the Hornets close. Rivers made six of his first seven shots.
Minnesota led 42-33, but the Hornets went on a 17-8 run in the final 6:01 of the second quarter to tie the game, 50-50, at intermission. Rivers did most of the damage with 10 points in the surge. The Hornets shot 55.9 percent in the first half and 73 percent on the second quarter -- making their final eight field goal attempts -- to overcome 11 turnovers.
Pekovic led the Timberwolves with 12 first-half points, most from point-blank range, as the Timberwolves held a 32-18 advantage in the paint.
Notes: Hornets coach Monty Williams, who has five children ranging in age from 2 years old to early teens, reacted with horror over the elementary school massacre Friday in Newtown, Conn. "At some point, we have to get past bureaucracy and all the nonsense and do something about this so our kids can be safe," Williams said. "If we can go to outer space and take care of trees, rivers and animals, then we can do a better job of taking care of our kids. It's just a sad situation." ... With Malcolm Lee nursing a right knee injury, Russian rookie Alexey Shved started at shooting guard for Minnesota. ... Point guard Ricky Rubio, who has been out the entire season with a left knee injury, was resting in Minneapolis and may make his season debut Saturday night against Dallas. ... Hornets forward Jason Smith sprained his shoulder Wednesday night in Oklahoma City trying to block a Kevin Durant dunk, and Williams said he could miss the next two weeks.