MINNEAPOLIS -- Shaking off the bitter residue from Monday's loss, the Minnesota Timberwolves turned Wednesday's game against the New Orleans Pelicans into a real New Year's celebration and a 124-112 victory at Target Center.
Two nights after they left the court outraged following a controversial finish in a defeat against the Dallas Mavericks, the Wolves put away the Pelicans early.
The Wolves turned a 14-point halftime lead into a second-half advantage that grew to as many as 30 points and never lower than 10 until very late.
Minnesota center Nikola Pekovic scored 22 points, forward Kevin Love scored 21 and guard Kevin Martin added 20, and the team's bench contributed as well.
The Wolves (16-16) tied a season high for scoring and shot a season-best 55.7 percent from the field.
Forward Ryan Anderson scored a game-high 25 points for New Orleans (14-16). Guard Jrue Holiday added 19 points.
Minnesota's reserves scored just five points in Monday's 100-98 loss to Dallas, when the Wolves screamed for a foul call on Love's final-second shot and got no response until the NBA declared a day later that Mavericks forward Shawn Marion indeed fouled Love.
On Wednesday, the Wolves' bench outscored the Pelicans' reserves 42-39, thanks to backup point guard J.J. Barea's 17 points and 10 points each from guard Alexey Shved and forward Dante Cunningham.
Before Wednesday's game, Pelicans coach Monty Williams was asked about his team his seeking some consistency after Monday's spunky 110-108 home victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
"That game is over with," he said. "We can't rely on anything from the Portland game to help us tonight. We want to be consistent every night."
The Pelicans are still searching for consistency.
The Wolves led 61-47 at halftime, and a 24-6 run in the third quarter put the game out of reach.
Minnesota did it by exploiting advantages inside against a Pelicans that had to decide whether it would use long, lean forward Anthony Davis against either Love or Pekovic and put Anderson on the other guy.
Williams asked Anderson to defend Pekovic much of the night, a move that kept Love from reaching at least 25 points scored for the first time in 12 games, partly because of Davis' defense and partly because of the game's blowout nature that kept Love on the bench for the game's final eight minutes.
However, the strategy came at the expense of Pekovic scoring inside seemingly at will and the Wolves getting to the basket and drawing foul after foul. The Wolves shot 24 free throws in the first half alone and 35 for the game, New Orleans finished with 22 foul shots.
NOTES: Pelicans SG Eric Gordon started Wednesday after missing the previous three games because of an injured hip. He scored 12 points. ... The NBA's admission Tuesday that its officials messed up in the Wolves' 100-98 loss to the Dallas Mavericks didn't help Minnesota coach Rick Adelman feel any better. The league said F Kevin Love was fouled by Dallas F Shawn Marion in the final second and should have received two free throws that could have tied the game. "It doesn't matter," Adelman said. "It's over with. It doesn't do any good to think about it now."... Love led the NBA in scoring in December with a 30.0-point average and was third behind the Los Angeles Clippers C DeAndre Jordan and Houston Rockets C Dwight Howard in rebounding at 13.7 a game. ... The Pelicans waived former Wolves PF Lou Amundson hours before the game, but C Greg Stiemsma made his return to Target Center, where he played last season. Stiemsma said friends from Sioux Falls, S.D., and his home state of Wisconsin traveled to Minneapolis for the game.