ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Love, Cavaliers best Timberwolves

CLEVELAND - In their first meeting since headlining one of the NBA's most talked-about offseason trades, Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins outshined Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love on Tuesday, scoring 27 points, dunking on Love...

1224 S Love.JPG
Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love and teammate LeBron James react beside Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins in the fourth quarter of an NBA game on Tuesday in Cleveland. USA Today Sports

CLEVELAND – In their first meeting since headlining one of the NBA’s most talked-about offseason trades, Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins outshined Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love on Tuesday, scoring 27 points, dunking on Love, swatting Tristan Thompson and drawing a foul as he tried to go through LeBron James in transition.
But, as has been true too often during the Timberwolves’ injury-plagued season, the rookie forward was seriously outmanned.
Cleveland pulled away late in the third quarter to win 125-104, the fourth victory on a five-game homestand for the Cavaliers before their Christmas showdown in Miami.
“Got stops,” James said of the 16-1 run that sealed it. “More physical. We just physical enough (early). We weren’t playing point of attack, we allowed them to get to their spots way too comfortable.”
That was a problem for Minnesota for the entire night. Guard Kyrie Irving scored 17 of his 29 points in the second half for Cleveland, and James had 24 points, four rebounds and three assists.
Cleveland suffered a couple of serious scares in the third quarter.
First, Love injured his right thumb as he banged it against former teammate Gorgui Dieng under the basket. The power forward eventually returned, finishing with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
But, by the time Love was back, center Anderson Varejao was in the locker room, having been carried off by teammates James Jones and Brendan Haywood after injuring his right ankle.
The Cavaliers reported that Varejao, who has missed 166 games over the previous four seasons but had started all but one game this season, will be evaluated Wednesday. He left the arena on crutches, and in a walking boot.
Irving, the No. 1 overall pick by Cleveland in 2011, made 12 of 19 shots from the field. James, the No. 1 overall pick in 2003, made half of his 16 shots, playing patiently for most of the contest. So they both did their part.
On the other side?
Wiggins, the No. 1 overall pick in 2014, converted 9 of 16 tries, in a game he called more emotional than others, after he never got to suit up in anything other than summer league action for the team that drafted him.
“I think it’s obvious this is a motivational game for me,” Wiggins said.
He earned high praise from Irving and James, with Irving declaring that Wiggins “is going to be one of the greatest guys in our league pretty soon,” and James calling him “a great talent.”
But forward Anthony Bennett – taken first overall by Cleveland in 2013 and later included in the Love deal – missed all four of his shots, in just 12 minutes.
Dieng, a center, had 20 points and 11 rebounds.
Minnesota 26 30 23 25 - 104
Cleveland 27 37 32 29 - 125
MINNESOTA (104)
Wiggins 9-16 6-8 27, Dieng 6-10 8-8 20, Muhammad 7-17 4-6 18, T.Young 6-18 1-2 13, Lavine 3-6 0-1 6, Mo.Williams 3-8 0-0 6, Budinger 2-4 2-2 7, Adrien 1-2 0-0 2, Bennett 0-4 0-0 0, Daniels 0-1 0-0 0, Hummel 2-2 0-0 4, Robinson III 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 39-88 22-29 104.
CLEVELAND (125)
Irving 12-19 3-3 29, Love 5-11 9-11 20, James 8-16 4-5 24, Varejao 3-5 0-0 6, M.Miller 0-1 0-0 0, Waiters 5-12 7-8 19, T.Thompson 2-4 1-2 5, Marion 5-7 1-2 11, Dellavedova 1-5 0-0 3, Haywood 1-1 0-0 2, J.Jones 1-2 0-0 3, J.Harris 1-1 0-0 3, A.Price 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 44-84 25-31 125.
3-Point Goals: Minnesota 4-13 (Wiggins 3-3, Budinger 1-2, Daniels 0-1, Lavine 0-1, Muhammad 0-2, Mo.Williams 0-4), Cleveland 12-24 (James 4-7, Irving 2-4, Waiters 2-4, J.Harris 1-1, J.Jones 1-2, Love 1-2, Dellavedova 1-3, M.Miller 0-1). Fouled out: None. Rebounds: Minnesota 51 (Dieng 11), Cleveland 51 (Love 10). Assists: Minnesota 25 (Mo.Williams 7), Cleveland 24 (Love, Irving, Waiters 4). Total Fouls: Minnesota 23 (Bennett 5), Cleveland 23 (Irving 4). A-20,562.

What To Read Next
Get Local

ADVERTISEMENT