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Timberwolves' defense fuels win over Pelicans

The Wolves' have bought in on the defensive end as part of a 2-0 start.
Karl-Anthony Towns

There are many reasons to be excited about the Minnesota Timberwolves right now but the biggest may be their commitment to defense.

With the addition of Patrick Beverley, the Timberwolves have bought in on the defensive end and it's a key reason why they're off to a 2-0 start after a 96-89 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Wolves were able to suffocate the Pelicans by holding them to 34.8 percent shooting on Saturday night. They were also able to force New Orleans into bad decisions, creating 30 turnovers on the night.

With that kind of a defensive effort, the Timberwolves have a bigger margin for error if their offense has an off night. While they battled evenly with the Pelicans in the first quarter, Minnesota turned it on in the second, outscoring New Orleans 26-15 and going into halftime with a 54-41 lead.

The Timberwolves were also fueled by a strong effort from Karl-Anthony Towns. While his pregame ritual of watching gorillas fight to the death generated headlines, so has his play. The center paced the Wolves on Saturday night scoring 25 points and adding four rebounds.

The Wolves also got 19 points and nine rebounds from Anthony Edwards but the rest of the team had difficulty connecting from long range. Minnesota shot 31.6 percent on 3-point attempts which let the Pelicans get back into the game.

Eventually, the game hinged on a couple of possessions in the fourth quarter. With the Wolves ahead 91-87, D'Angelo Russell hit a clutch 3-pointer that gave Minnesota a seven-point lead with 25.9 seconds to play.

From there, the Wolves made a couple more defensive stops and came away with another early-season victory. The Pelicans and Wolves will renew acquaintances when Minnesota hosts New Orleans on Monday night.

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