MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The New Orleans Pelicans have perked up since the debut of Zion Williamson.
The presence of Jrue Holiday, though, can't be discounted in their improvement.
Holiday just missed his second triple-double against Minnesota in less than a week, putting up a season-high 37 points and adding nine rebounds and eight assists for the Pelicans in a 120-107 victory over the Timberwolves on Sunday.
“Jrue was incredible today. These performances from him have been coming a lot lately," said Williamson, who scored 23 points on 9-for-15 shooting. “It was one of those games where, we need a bucket to get the momentum back, he was there.”
Lonzo Ball had 18 points and eight assists, and Brandon Ingram pitched in 15 points and 12 rebounds to help the Pelicans start a four-game trip with the victory.
Malik Beasley had 21 points and nine rebounds, and D'Angelo Russell scored 19 points for the Timberwolves. They got 42 points from their reserves.
Still harboring an outside shot at the playoffs, the Pelicans passed Portland for 10th place in the Western Conference and pulled within four games of eighth-place Memphis with Sacramento in ninth place. The Pelicans are 11-7 over their last 20 games and have won 15 of their last 18 games against opponents with losing records.
Even the defense has enjoyed an uptick following Williamson's debut after the super-sized, super-skilled rookie missed more than half of the season recovering from knee surgery. New Orleans held the Timberwolves to 22 fewer points than in its 139-134 defeat at home five days ago. Holiday had 27 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists in that game. This was his fourth 30-point performance of the season. In three matchups with the Wolves this season, he's averaging more than 27 points.