Cavaliers Preview Game #47: Timberwolves at Cavs

Cavaliers vs TimberwolvesMinnesota Timberwolves (9-37) vs
Cleveland Cavaliers (35-11)
Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
7:00 PM EST

Rarely am I truly shocked when I do a statistical breakdown/analysis of a team in preparation for writing up a preview. If I’m being honest, though, I was truly shocked at just how awful the Minnesota Timberwolves are at all aspects of the game. They literally do next to nothing well. They’re pretty good at offensive rebounding and they’re ok at getting fastbreak points and points in the paint. That’s about it. Here are just some of the categories they are in the bottom 5 in the NBA in: PPG, Opp PPG, FG%, Opp FG%, 3P%, Opp 3P%, assists per game, opponents assists per game, turnovers per game, blocks per game, opponents blocks per game, Off eFG%, Def eFG%, Off TOV%, Off FT Rate, Off Efficiency Rating, and Def Efficiency Rating. Oh, and the Wolves opponents average a biggest lead of 18.7 points against them while their average point deficit at the end of the game is –10.2 points. So, yeah, this is not a good basketball team the Cavaliers are playing. Having said all that, we all know by now how frequently the Cavs play down to their opponents. We’ll see if the Cavs can stop that trend tonight.

Projected Starting Lineups

Minnesota Timberwolves:

-G Jonny Flynn (14.2 ppg, 4.2 apg, 1.1 spg, 13.42 PER)
-G Corey Brewer (13.1 ppg, 2.1 apg, .340 3P%, 12.35 PER)
-F Damien Wilkins (6.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.9 apg, 11.54 PER)
-F Kevin Love (14.8 ppg, 11.9 rpg, 0.4 bpg, 23.00 PER)
-C Al Jefferson (17.9 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 1.0 bpg, 18.99 PER)

Key Reserves: Ryan Gomes, Ramon Sessions, Wayne Ellington, Ryan Hollins, Sasha Pavlovic, Oleksiy Pecherov

Injuries: None

Cleveland Cavaliers:

-G Daniel Gibson (6.0 ppg, 0.9 apg, 0.5 spg, 11.36 PER)
-G Anthony Parker (7.1 ppg, 1.7 apg, .453 3P%, 9.20 PER)
-F LeBron James (29.9 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 7.8 apg, 31.36 PER)
-F JJ Hickson (6.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 0.4 bpg, 12.74 PER)
-C Shaquille O’Neal (11.2 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 1.1 bpg, 16.90 PER)

Key Reserves: Anderson Varejao, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Jamario Moon, Jawad Williams, Danny Green

Injuries: Mo Williams (out), Delonte West (out), Leon Powe (out)

Team Efficiency Stats

Minnesota Timberwolves:

-Off (97.0 ppg, 44.1 rpg, .441 FG%, 19.1 apg, 16.4 TOpg, Eff-97.3, Rank-29)
-Def (107.2 ppg, 43.5 rpg, .475 FG%, Eff-108.0, Rank-27)

Cleveland Cavaliers:

-Off (100.7 ppg, 42.2 rpg, .483 FG%, 21.3 apg, 14.7 TOpg, Eff-108.0, Rank-5)
-Def (94.5 ppg, 38.1 rpg, .435 FG%, Eff-100.7, Rank-6)

Previous Matchups

  1. Cleveland 104 at Minnesota 87 – 10/30/09 [box]

Future Matchups


Game Notes

So, I pointed out how terrible the Timberwolves are at playing basketball in my opening, and then you look at the starting lineups and you see that with the exception of LeBron James at SF, the Timberwolves have the player with the higher PER starting at every position. They have a trio of decent bench players, too, in Gomes, Sessions, and Ellington. Then you factor in the breakout season Kevin Love is having and the steadiness of Al Jefferson down low, and you wonder how this team can possibly be so bad.

Sometimes people say the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, but in Minnesota’s case the whole is less than the sum of its parts. However, the Cavaliers are still extremely shorthanded in the backcourt tonight and Jonny Flynn is an exciting young PG who is precisely the type of player who always gives the Cavaliers fits. He has an explosive first step and a knack for finding his way into the lane. With the way the Cavaliers rotate their help on defense, Jefferson and Love could have a field day. This is how the Wolves manage to score a decent number of points in the paint.

As I mentioned earlier, they also like to score fast break points. With Kevin Love and Al Jefferson underneath grabbing rebounds and Flynn pushing the breakout, they tend to find ways to score on the break. This is another area where Cleveland is somewhat susceptible defensively.

So, for all of Minnesota’s weaknesses and all of the Cavaliers’ strengths, there actually exists a decent number of matchup issues for Cleveland. Add this to their propensity for letting bad teams hang around, and this one has letdown game written all over it. If the Cavaliers come out focused and run their offense, there’s nothing to worry about. If they don’t, this game will turn into a dogfight for the Cavaliers.

Vegas Line

Cleveland –12.5
Over/Under 200.0

From The Outside Looking In

Canis Hoopus
TWolves Blog

Birds Of A Feather

Cavs: The Blog
Stepien Rules

Random Thoughts

The Wine and Gold Rush

Next Game For The Cavaliers

Friday, January 29, 2010
7:00 PM EST
Cleveland Cavaliers at Indiana Pacers

  • WindyCityWahoo

    How will the home crowd react to seeing Sasha in a Wolves uniform? Probably the same way they did when he was wearing a Cavs uniform.

  • Denny


  • Vare-A-Jay

    Any chance on keeping Al Jefferson in town for the long haul? I really like the cut of that man’s jib. (/Grandpa’d)

    Hopefully the Cavs can get a blowout going so LeMVP can get some rest.

  • Mark

    I’m sure we can convince Jefferson to stay. He can look at both of our buildings. Maybe get some food near the street.

  • James

    After the brutal schedule, this game came at just the right time. The team really could use a blowout.

  • Oppie

    Hopefully this won’t be much of a game, but I am looking forward to seeing this really young core of talent play tonight.

  • ClevelandSouth


    I always though that the BP Building should count as a third building. MAJOR LEAGUES NOW BABY.

  • Oppie

    Man it’s weird seeing Sasha in a different uni.

  • lstavole13

    JJ is playing great!

  • Saggy

    @clevelandsouth: I thought it was the Sohio building. What happened?

  • Anthony

    I think Rambis had money on this game. How else could you explain fouling with under 12 seconds left when down by 10 (Z made both free throws), then again with 9 seconds left (Jawad also made both)? Something’s fishy…

    /dons tin foil hat

  • Oppie

    According to Windhorst:

    Shaq to JJ: “You could be Cedric Ceballos”

    JJ: “Who’s That?”

    Shaq: sigh

    JJ: “I was born in 88 man”

    That’s Classic!!!

  • boogeyman

    What a boring game at least LeBron got to rest the entire fourth quarter. Hickson had an impressive game even if it was against the lowly T-Wolves but I still want Antwan Jamison! 😉

  • Denny

    His name is Antawn. :[

  • boogeyman

    ^^^Antwan/Antawn hopefully I can call him a Cavalier in the near future although the way everyone keeps saying how he’d make the most sense for the Cavaliers the less likely that means he’ll end up here. My confidence in Ferry shoring the team up for the playoffs is next to nill he’ll probably do nothing just like last year and we all know how that ended up after everyone thought you had the best team ever created.