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Towns' double-double leads Wolves past Pelicans

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Karl-Anthony Towns (32) backs towards the basket as New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) plays defense in the first half at Target Center on Saturday, Jan. 12. Jesse Johnson / USA TODAY Sports1 / 2
Minnesota Timberwolves interim head coach Ryan Saunders looks on during the first half against the New Orleans Pelicans at Target Center on Saturday, Jan. 12. Jesse Johnson / USA TODAY Sports2 / 2

MINNEAPOLIS -- Karl-Anthony Towns had 27 points and 27 rebounds as the host Minnesota Timberwolves held off the New Orleans Pelicans 110-106 on Saturday night, Jan. 12.

The Timberwolves bounced back from their first loss under interim head coach Ryan Saunders a night earlier to improve to 2-1 since he replaced the fired Tom Thibodeau on Jan. 6.

Andrew Wiggins added 18 points, Josh Okogie scored 17, Dario Saric and Tyus Jones had 14 each and Taj Gibson 10.

Anthony Davis had 30 points and 14 rebounds, Jrue Holiday scored 25 points, Julius Randle added 22 points and 11 rebounds and Elfrid Payton had 10 points to lead the Pelicans, who saw a three-game winning streak end in the opener of a five-game road trip.

The Pelicans led by two points after the first quarter, the Wolves led by two at halftime and the tightness continued in the third quarter.

The score was tied 10 times and changed hands nine times before Randle's layup in the final seconds gave New Orleans an 89-87 lead after three quarters.

The Pelicans maintained the lead until Saric's 3-pointer produced the first tie of the period at 95 with 8:11 remaining.

The score was tied once more before Towns' tip-in produced the first lead change of the quarter, giving Minnesota a 99-97 edge.

Towns made another basket before consecutive dunks by Randle and Holiday pulled the Pelicans even.

Towns made a 3-pointer and blocked a shot by Davis , leading to Jones' layup and a 108-103 Minnesota lead.

Holiday answered with a three-point play, but those would be New Orleans' only points in the final 3:58. Jones made two free throws to give the Wolves a 110-106 lead with 54 seconds left.

Payton barely beat the quarter buzzer with a tip-in that gave New Orleans a 29-27 lead at the end of the first period.

Towns had 14 points and 15 rebounds as Minnesota held a 54-52 halftime lead.