New Orleans’ starting lineup and rotation had a new look Monday, with Willy Hernangomez taking over the backup center role and Garrett Temple moving into the starting lineup. Although Hernangomez produced positive results in his first major action of the season, the Pelicans couldn’t overcome a subpar shooting night overall and too many turnovers.
Minnesota limited New Orleans to just 40 points in the middle quarters, rolling to its fourth straight win. The Pelicans hovered around or below 40 percent from the field much of the night and struggled from three-point range.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
New Orleans only scored nine points in the first nine minutes of the third quarter, allowing Minnesota to build an 84-59 lead. The Timberwolves led 66-50 at intermission.
PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME
As was the case often last season, Hernangomez capitalized on his opportunity to play, after he had not been in the rotation during the first 18 games. The native of Spain was 8/9 from the field and scored 19 points on a night efficiency was badly needed by the Pelicans. He also grabbed 11 rebounds in just 22 minutes of action.
BY THE NUMBERS
6/32: New Orleans three-point shooting. That 18.8 percent rate was a season low for the Pelicans.
3: Consecutive games of double-digit scoring for backup point guard Kira Lewis Jr., the first time he’s done that as a pro.
REVISITING FANDUEL KEYS TO THE GAME
POUND THE BOARDS
Minnesota’s offensive rebounding and ability to extend possessions was a frustrating part of the night, allowing the visitors to take control on the scoreboard. The Wolves had 21 O-boards, resulting in 26 second-chance points.
Minnesota has brought out the worst in New Orleans in terms of not taking care of the ball this season. The Pelicans coughed up 23 turnovers Monday, for a total of 73 (24.3 average) in three matchups with the Wolves so far.
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Brandon Ingram and Minnesota’s Anthony Edwards were big factors in the Target Center when the clubs met in October for two games, but both were mostly quiet Monday. Ingram tallied nine points on 2/13 shooting, while Edwards had five points at halftime. Edwards tacked on four second-half buckets and totaled 18 points.
It’s safe to say that Jonas Valanciunas has made quite a first impression on his new fan base. The center was voted top Pelicans player on Twitter for a fourth consecutive week, after he averaged 18.5 points and 10.8 rebounds per game over four contests. The other Week 5 nominees were Ingram (team-high 19.8 points) and Josh Hart, who averaged 7.8 rebounds and turned in one of the best weeks of his five-year NBA career. On Twitter, @brett_diet appeared to cast a vote for Hart, writing “Jonas has been playing out of his mind, but Hart speaking up and playing his (butt) off in that W (over Memphis) felt like a ‘stop the bleeding moment.’ Felt like a leadership moment this team hasn’t had at all yet this year.”
Previous weekly winners were Week 1: Brandon Ingram; Week 2: Jonas Valanciunas; Week 3: Jonas Valanciunas; Week 4: Jonas Valanciunas