Kevin Love, returning from a one-game absence caused by neck stiffness, had 26 points and 19 rebounds for Minnesota. Corey Brewer added 16 points and Kevin Martin 15.
Love's inside presence helped Minnesota build the largest lead of the game, at 12, in the third quarter.
Love outrebounded the Pelicans as a team 8-5 and had nine points in the period, seven at the free throw line. His free throws in the final minute of the quarter made it 71-59 before Austin Rivers' 11-foot floater pulled the Pelicans back to 10 points heading into the final period.
"It was tough because I just came off of playing a number of physical games and I had been taking a beating. I'm just trying to give this team all that I can," Love said. "But in the end, it wasn't enough."
New Orleans still trailed by nine when J.J. Barea's fast-break layup made it 75-66.
The play had Williams muttering to himself in disgust as he called timeout, and New Orleans responded.
Gordon's 18-foot pull-up jumper and a pair of 3s by Anthony Morrow fueled a 12-2 run. Gordon capped the surge with an explosive dribble drive past Brewer for a two-handed dunk.
New Orleans gradually built its lead to seven. Ricky Rubio, who had 11 points, briefly cut it to 89-85 with a 3, but Morrow's third 3 on as many attempts made it 92-85 and Minnesota did not get closer than three points after that.
"Our decision making offensively wasn't very good," Minnesota coach Rick Adelman said. "I don't think we played well together. Everyone was trying to do it for themselves. ... We have to find a way to trust each other better than that."
NOTES: Love was 14 for 17 from the free throw line. ... F Luke Babbitt made his debut for the Pelicans in the second quarter and hit a 3 soon after checking in and finished with five points in 19:29, including a clutch tip-in of Davis' miss late in the fourth quarter.