Wolves win 12th in a row at home, beating new-look New Orleans 118-107
Its just different, Jamal Crawford said.
He said that Saturday morning, hours before the Timberwolves did what they seemingly always do these days win at Target Center, this time a wire-to-wire 118-107 victory over Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans. Afterward, others were saying it, too.
The Wolves won for the 12th consecutive time at home. That streak is within two games of the longest home winning streak in franchise history, and it pushed the Wolves home record to 22-6, best in the Western Conference.
If the Wolves have been up and down on the road, they have been golden at home.
Its just different.
We have a different belief, for whatever reason, Crawford said. I think the fans have been great, the city has been great. But we have a different belief here. We really get after it.
They did Saturday night, going up 9-0 before an announced crowd of 17,954 some of them celebrities in town for Sundays Super Bowl had even settled in. That lead was 18 later in the first quarter.
And while the Pelicans tried to reel in the Wolves over the final three-plus quarters, they never did.
I think its a comfort level we have here at home, said center Karl-Anthony Towns, who finished with 22 points and 16 rebounds. We seem to lock in a lot better.
The Wolves (34-22) ended a streak of having played 20 games in 35 nights by completing a four-game season sweep of New Orleans. They shot better than 50 percent, getting 30 points, eight rebounds and seven assists from Jimmy Butler and 15 points each from Andrew Wiggins and Tyus Jones, who came off the bench to hit six of nine shots.
Davis who had 43 in the Pelicans victory at Oklahoma City on Friday followed with 38 Saturday. But the Wolves at least slowed him down; Davis had 19 points in the first quarter but only 19 more the rest of the way. Nikola Mirotic, acquired by the Pelicans in a trade with Chicago after losing DeMarcus Cousins to an Achilles injury, scored 18 points with 12 rebounds in his New Orleans debut.
I just think we want to make it tough [for other teams] to win here, Butler said. We make shots here, thats for sure. But we actually guard a lot better at home. When you guard, you get a lot of points in transition [19 Saturday]. And the result of that is wins.
The challenge, of course, is taking this on the road. Which might be why coach Tom Thibodeau brushed away talk of the home streak by noting that the team is about to head out to play at Cleveland on Wednesday and at Chicago Butlers first game back there on Friday.
So we have to gather ourselves and get ready again, he said.
Well, not right away. For the first time in a while, the Wolves have three days off between games, including an off day Sunday. So maybe its OK to revel in the fact that the Wolves, playing before bigger and bigger crowds, havent lost a game at Target Center since Dec. 16.
Wiggins can remember nights in his first three seasons when the Wolves played, and lost, home games in front of relatively sparse crowds. It was empty, he said. High school games had more people than us.
That has changed.
We have a comfort level at home, Wiggins said.