Cavaliers 107, Timberwolves 85 [Box]
The Cavs cruised last night to a franchise record tying 11th win in a row over an inferior 20-win Minnesota Timberwolves squad, but the contest was not without drama. During the third quarter, LeBron initiated an aggressive drive to the basket and was clothes-lined and hit in the face by Wolves 7-footer Jason Collins. LeBron’s head snapped back and the foul was ruled a flagrant one – the lesser of the two flagrant categorizations which does not require an ejection. Zydrunas Ilgauskas was issued a technical foul for a retaliatory shove of Collins and James sat down at midcourt to compose himself after the jolting foul while the officials convened to determine a ruling on the play. James was clearly upset with Collins (who had a history of questionable fouls on James) and with the officials ruling on the play. He characterized Collins’ foul as “borderline dirty” and “a little bit overboard.”
The other point of drama for Cavs fans unfolded at the beginning of the fourth quarter when Mo Williams hurt his right pinkie after getting his hand caught in the jersey of Sebastian Telfair. The x-rays did not reveal a break in the hand, but Williams did not return. He is being listed as day-to-day right now. Williams still poured in 22 points despite the limited minutes. It is always disconcerting when one of your team’s best natural shooters sustains an injury to one of his shooting hands. It may be prudent for the Cavs to rest Williams tomorrow afternoon against the Mavericks and avoid Williams developing any bad habits attempting to play with the bruised finger.
The Cavs were able to win easily in large part due to a huge rebounding advantage. The Wolves were out-rebounded 47 to 26 as Z and Andy were their usual selves in dominating the glass. LeBron led all scorers with 25 points, including 18 in the first quarter, while grabbing 12 rebounds. James unfortunately had to re-enter the game with just over 7 minutes remaining as the Timberwolves closed to within 13 points. All five starters were in double figures and Daniel Gibson came off the bench to hit 4 of 5 threes and score 12 points.
Wally Szczerbiak was activated before the game but did not see any action and it has not been determined if he will see limited minutes tomorrow afternoon. Lorenzen Wright was put on the inactive list to make room for Wally. In addition, Darnell Jackson continues to get increased minutes during this winning streak while JJ Hickson rides the bench as the season nears its end. Jackson scored 6 points and grabbed 5 rebounds in 14 minutes of play. With Wally’s return to the active list and Big Ben’s return on the horizon, there is sure to be a raging debate on how the playoff rotation will take shape during this stretch run.
(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)