Wolves lose to Hornets after squandering 17-point first half lead
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NEW ORLEANS -- Greivis Vasquez had 18 points and 13 assists to lead the New Orleans Hornets to a 104-92 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night for their fourth straight win.
Eric Gordon added 16 points, Ryan Anderson had 15, Jason Smith 14, Al-Farouz Aminu 12 and Roger Mason 10 for the Hornets, who have won five out of six with Gordon in the starting lineup. Aminu also had 13 rebounds.
Luke Ridnour scored 20 points to lead a balanced Timberwolves offense. Nikola Pekovic added 18 points, Andrei Kirilenko 17, Dante Cunningham 12 and Alexey Shved 11. Minnesota, which dressed out only nine players because of injuries.
The Timberwolves dominated the inside early, scoring 30 points in the paint while taking a 46-40 halftime lead. But the Hornets' collapsing defense held the Timberwolves to 4-of-16 shooting in the third quarter and New Orleans doubled up Minnesota 30-15 in the period to take a 70-61 lead.
After being on the short end of a 30-20 margin in points in the paint in the first half, New Orleans took control underneath and had a 40-34 advantage at the end of the third period.
Hornets forward Anthony Davis, who scored just one point in the first half, scored eight in the third and finished with nine overall.
Davis' jumper tied the score at 50 with 6:36 left in the third quarter and Vasquez's 3-pointer gave the Hornets their first lead at 55-54 with 5:11 remaining.
Davis' layup with 4:13 remaining put the Hornets ahead for good.
The Hornets trailed by 17 midway through the second half but Gordon scored seven points in a closing 18-6 run. New Orleans made seven of its last nine shots of the half.
Minnesota coach Rick Adelman missed his third consecutive game. Adelman has been home with his wife, who was recently hospitalized. ... Vasquez has double-doubles in five of the past six games, including the past three. ... The Hornets won for the first time in franchise history when an opponent made at least 18 free throws. Minnesota was 26 of 33 from the line. ... The Hornets hit the century mark for the first time since a 113-102 loss to Minnesota on Dec. 14.© The Associated Press