Williamson scores career-high 43, Pelicans top Timberwolves

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Zion Williamson scored a career-high 43 points, capping it with New Orleans' final 14 points in the last 2:44 of the game, and the Pelicans narrowly outlasted the Minnesota Timberwolves 119-118 on Wednesday night for their fourth straight victory.

Anthony Edwards, who scored 27 for Minnesota, missed a baseline fade for the win as time expired on a game in which the Wolves led most of the way, and by as many as 11 points, before losing their fourth straight.

Williamson's 3-pointer with 2:17 left cut Minnesota's lead to 112-110. He then pulled out of a spinning dribble in the lane for a short floater that tied it.

Williamson tied it again at 114 on a driving finger roll. And after Jaden McDaniels' free throws put Minnesota ahead again with 1:04 left, Williamson hit an off-balance driving layup to tie it before stealing the ball from McDaniels and breaking free for a go-ahead dunk.

Edwards' dunk tied it at 118 before Williamson hit one of two free throws, which turned out to be enough.

Trey Murphy III scored 21, going 5 of 6 from 3, and CJ McCollum scored 20 for the Pelicans. Jonas Valanciunas had 12 points and 11 rebounds.

D'Angelo Russell had 27 points and McDaniels scored 19 for Minnesota.

The game was marked by physical play and flaring emotions.

There were 52 total fouls called in the game, including a handful of technical fouls and one flagrant foul on each team.

Austin Rivers, who wound up fouling out with nearly 8 minutes to go, was assessed a flagrant-1 foul after he caught Larry Nance Jr. hard in the head near the basket late in the third quarter. Nance remained down on one knee while trainers encircled him. Soon after, he went to the locker room and was ruled out for the remainder of the game with neck spasms.

Rivers, a 2012 New Orleans first-round draft choice along with Anthony Davis, also was involved in an exchange of shoves with Valanciunas. Double technicals were called and an additional technical was called on New Orleans' Naji Marshall for shoving Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert in the back as he stepped between Valanciunas and Rivers.

Minnesota took a 50-39 lead after a 9-0 run ignited by Russell's 3 and fueled by McDaniels' layup and putback in the second quarter.

Back-to-back dunks by Williamson and Murphy helped the Pelicans trim it to 52-49 before Reid's 3 made it 55-49 at halftime.

TIP-INS

Timberwolves: Jaylen Nowell scored 14 points. Former LSU player Naz Reid scored 13, all in the first half. ... Karl-Anthony Towns missed his 14th straight game with his right calf strain. Minnesota is (6-8) without him. ... Shot 50.6% (42 of 83) overall and 10 of 29 from deep. ... Outscored New Orleans in the paint, 58-52, and the Wolves reserves outscored the Pelicans bench 30-11.

Pelicans: Never led by more than 4 points. ... Shot 45.8% (11 of 24) from 3-point range. ... Marshall finished with 12 points. ... Brandon Ingram missed his 15th straight game with a left great toe contusion. New Orleans is (11-4) while Ingram has been out.

UP NEXT

Timberwolves: At Milwaukee on Friday night.

Pelicans: Host Philadelphia on Friday night.

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Brett Martel, The Associated Press