It's appropriate that Timberwolves veteran Taj Gibson chose this comparison now that he'll be battling New Orleans big men Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins down near the bayou tonight.

"I'm going to be wrestling alligators tonight," he said after this morning's shootaround at Smoothie King Center.

He won't be alone. Wolves center Karl-Anthony Towns and others will be doing so, too, against a Pelicans team that is zigging with its two talented bigs when most every other NBA team is zagging by playing small lineups.

Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau calls Davis and Cousins "two elite talents."

Davis scored 45 and 42 points the first two times he played the Wolves last season and averaged 38.3 points on .667 shooting in the three-game series that the Pelicans swept.

Cousins on Monday was named the Western Conference's Player of the Week for averaging 36.3 points, 16 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.3 blocks while leading New Orleans to a 2-1 record last week.

Gibson calls both players old-school NBA, with a twist of the new.

"That's the old NBA, physical, skilled big men," he said. "But now that's not what they used to be. These guys can shoot threes, dribble the ball full court. They're a new version of the old big man."

A couple other things about tonight's 7 p.m. tip:

* The Pelicans' list of injured is long, even with Davis back after a one-game absence last week: Centers Alexis Ajinca, Omer Asik, forward Solomon Hill and guards Rajon Rondo and Frank Jackson all are out.

* The Wolves chased former Wolves forward Dante Cunningham hard in free agency, but he re-signed with the Pelicans and is starting beside Cousins and Davis in the New Orleans front court.

* Former Wolves shooting coach Mike Penberthy, who once worked extensively with Ricky Rubio, is now on Pelicans' coach Alvin Gentry's staff.

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