Cavs Bounce Back From Toronto Loss, Win Over Wolves

Kyrie Irving Minnesota

The Cleveland Cavaliers improved to 4-3 last night with an impressive road win over the young and improving Minnesota Timberwolves. Byron Scott’s club methodically ground down the Wolves over the first three plus quarters, building an 18 point lead in the fourth and cruising comfortably to their second road win of the season. The Cavaliers took the lead in the final minute of the first quarter and, aside from the few short runs by the Wolves, never really looked back.

Much of the hype coming into the game focused on the rookie point guard matchup between Kyrie Irving and Ricky Rubio. Irving, along with veteran Ramon Sessions, got the better of the Minny backcourt all evening. Irving finished with 14 points, five rebounds, and five assists from the starting point guard spot. The rookie had a season-high turnover night, however, giving it away seven times. Those kinds of turnover margins are expected from a rookie point guard, and certainly part of the process as Wizards fans are finding out in much more frustrating circumstances with John Wall. Number two pick Derrick Williams finished with 12 points for the Wolves.

The vet Sessions was there to pick up Irving when things got too sloppy last night. While he didn’t have his best shooting night, he had a solid all-around floor game contributing 11 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists. And it was Sessions, not the dynamic dime dishing rookie Rubio, who had the highlight assist of the night. On a 2-on-1 breakaway, Alonzo Gee hit Sessions filling the left lane. Sessions caught the pass, took no dribbles and immediately jumped to put it off the glass for a trailing Gee who slammed it home. The highlight came in the middle of the Cavs fourth quarter run as they built their largest lead, and likely got Cavaliers’ fans off their couches on Friday night as it seemed to ice an imminent win.

Darko Milicic had a huge first quarter for the Wolves, beating up the Cavs on the interior for 11 points in the first 12 minutes. But Anderson Varejao ended it there, as  Milicic came back down to earth and didn’t score again. Andy, meanwhile, had his third double-double of the season – grabbing 12 boards and scoring 13 points on just eight shots. It was a solid bounce back performance after a quiet night in Toronto.

In the end, it was the mad chucker Antawn Jamison who led all Cavalier scorers. Jamison had his second highest point total of the season, finishing with 22 points. It took 22 shots, and he’s still firing with great frequency and little success from behind the arc, but there’s no need to dwell on that after a nice road win.

An improved defensive effort and hot shooting from outside were enough to really keep the lead comfortable. That will need to happen every now and again if the Cavs are to have any success in the road-heavy first month of the season. The Minny win launches them westward, where they will play the first of five road games against Portland on Sunday night.

  • Ethan

    I’ve got a feeling Jamison is winning some of these games for us. Might be better to dump him sooner rather than later. I mean, his stock his high right now, right? Right?

  • Fritzer

    Trade da Man

  • Doug

    Read the AP recap- As a Cavalier fan, I found it insulting.
    By JON KRAWCZYNSKI, AP Sports Writer
    “The young and inexperienced Minnesota Timberwolves figured a night against lowly Cleveland would be an easy one to get them back in the win column.

    Antawn Jamison and Kyrie Irving showed some signs that the Cavaliers may not be the pushovers they have been since LeBron James left.”

    Seriously? Anyway, impressive game by Jamison and a shoutout for Andy Varejao.

  • JM

    @Doug that is just ignorant journalism, which is not surprising to me these days. A few weeks ago people didn’t even mention Irving as a top rookie they wanted to see this year. Then suddenly he’s all over the 4 letter network last week because of his amazing plays.

  • Omar’s Magic Glove

    Hahaha, @ the mad chucker! And I can’t believe Darko is still in the league. That draft pick by Detroit might have been one of the worst of all time, choosing Darko over Wade, Anthony, and Bosh.

    This was a much needed win for the Cavs! I hope they make it back to back against the blazers tomorrow, but Aldrige will be a tough matchup for Jamison and TT.

  • Baclap

    We dominated the Wolves in every aspect last night, but I almost felt it said more about them tan us. I guess I’m just trying to stay grounded during this surprisingly good start to the season we’ve had. Jamison is looking better than he ever has in Cleveland as far as I can tell. Here’s hoping we get something of worth for him. And last I’d like to say that Casspi is a total bust. I’m tired of seeing him out there already. I hate to be a downer, I was very happy with the win, but Casspi really frustrates me.

  • James

    Winning record!!! Lets go Cavs!! I know everyone here wants the Cavs to lose, but i’m rooting for a great playoff run!

  • christopher

    @Omar

    Yes, a questionable draft pick indeed…

    however how ironic is it that both Bosh and Anthony are having to form these super teams to win an NBA ring 7 years after Darko won his! :)

  • Omar’s Magic Glove

    @Christopher, haha very true.

    @James, put me on your side, because I am all for this team winning as many games as possible.

  • JM

    We have Thompson now, so Hickson had to be traded. His attitude probably didn’t help. I’m just not a big fan of Casspi.

  • MC

    When can we be honest with ourselves and admit that these wins are actually hurting the franchise? This upcoming draft is one of the best in recent years and if we don’t have at least at top 3-5 pick it will devastate the franchise for years. It hurts me to say this but I’d rather see the cavs tank this season and see some development from our rookies then be stranded outside the lottery. I know people will yell and scream that I’m not a true fan, but sadly I know I’m right.

  • Colin

    @MC hah u cant say you know youre right. we’re playing bad teams and starting off hot. it prob wont keep up when we start playing better teams so we should keep the high pick but if not who cares i want to root for my team

  • Doug

    Don’t know how to respond to @MC. Unfortunately that’s the logic of a city that hasn’t won anything since 1964. It’s a shame. Enjoy watching good basketball and quit with this draft pick crap. This team will have bumps in the road (see Wednesday night), but can’t you just enjoy the ride?

  • jimkanicki

    without getting into it:
    the slot with 2.8% chance sometimes gets the top pick.
    like last year for instance.

  • BrownsfanSF

    @JM – I agree with you that Casspi is not looking so hot right now. I do, however, think he looks more “lost” than he does “bad”. He is hesitating, not aggressive and missing tons of easy shots. I think by the midway point in the year he is going to start to figure it out a bit. I still have hopes he can be the second or third guy off the bench when the cavs hoist the Larry O’brien :-)

  • Baclap

    If the Cavs are the worst team in league this year then it wouldn’t say much about the 2 guys we drafted in the offseason. I’m pulling for a playoff run too.

  • Foghorn Leghorn

    @ MC. I think we will start losing soon enough. Trading Jamison will hopefully grab us a pick. Trading AV would also get us a pick. Losing both of them would be crippling to the season and we would lose a lot of games, ensuring a better pick. Im not saying all three of those would happen, but if the dominos start falling you got nothing to worry about. In the meantime, as Doug said, enjoy the ride.

  • tsm

    How about Jamison for Cousins? No downside. If he remains a head case, we will surely get a top 5 pick. If he matures under Scott it is better than a top 5 pick.

  • Kevin

    @MC they will still be a bad team this year. Remember, last year’s team started out with a similar record against better competition (beating Boston early). Your comment about the draft is also a bit confusing. You said that this was a deep draft (which is true) but then claimed that the Cavs need a top 5 pick. If this draft is deep, there should be very talented players as much as 10-deep. I think this season will be much more fun than last year’s, but I’m not expecting a playoff run. Enjoy nights like last night when they happen, but understand that this is still a lottery team.

  • Kevin

    @tsm they traded Hickson last year, there is no way they would try to get Cousins. Besides, Sacramento would not trade him for an aging vet like Jamison. He gives their team absolutely no value and is more likely to get traded to a team making a playoff push that needs a veteran forward. Byron Scott has shown that he wants a certain type of player and isn’t willing to deal with head cases and guys that don’t want to play hard. I’d rather get maximum value for Jamison, and I think they can do better than a guy who will be a complete waste and end up being traded in a year.

  • D

    Complaining about wins?? Good lord.

    Go Cavs! Win whenever you can, wherever you can. If we fail, we fail. But rooting for the team to fail is demonstrative of the “loser stockholm syndrome” that has fallen on many sports fans in this town. Doug said it best “Unfortunately that’s the logic of a city that hasn’t won anything since 1964. It’s a shame. Enjoy watching good basketball and quit with this draft pick crap.”

  • Ethan

    @D theres a difference between winning because of Antawn Jamison and winning because of Kyrie Irving. I have no problem winning because of Kyrie, but I dont want to win because of a bunch of veterans who wont be here two years from now.
    Im not sure, but I think my opinion somewhat echoes most Cavs fans.

  • christopher

    @Ethan

    It does. The worst thing that could happen to this franchise from a long term standpoint would be an 8th seed / “kiss of death” playoff spot.

    For more information on this subject see: The Cleveland Cavaliers one year after drafting LeBron James.

    We didn’t make the playoffs that year but had just enough wins to put us outside of top draft prospects. This then continued the year after and the next. We were then forced into trying to attract free agents (who didn’t want to come here) or trade (assets we didn’t have).

    The big problem staring at us now is that Kyrie Irving does not have the basketball skill that LeBron does. He will not be able to carry an entire team, he and Tristan will need help. Young, drafted help because as I previously mentioned we will not attract top tier free agents nor do we have high value assets to trade.

    I do want to be clear that I do not “root for us to lose”…I dont think anyone here does.

    I root for the team to play hard, develop their chemistry, for Grant to make smart moves and Boss Gilbert to keep the checkbook open when needed.

    I do not root for us to obtain the 8th seed in the playoffs, miss out on a top 5 draft pick, sell off Twan and Andy for 2nd round picks and be stuck in the middle for the next 10 years.

  • Porkchop xpress

    Random thoughts on this thread.

    I don’t think Jamison is winning games for us. If you look at his stats he is having to put up as many shots as points scored. Last night he went for 22 but it took 20 shots to get there which means he wasted the same number of possessions as he scored on. I tend to agree they are winning because they are playing against bad competition right now. Still, I think we are going to draft 8-10, simply because there are at least 5-6 teams that are far, far worse off than the Cavs.

    I don’t think there is any way to actually tank games without damaging the guys you have on the team, particularly the rookies. How do you have any credibility to tell them to win later if they know you made them lose now. Just one of those role with punches and hope we get a good player.

    After Lebron’s rookie year had we lost 2-5 more games we could have had either Devin Harris, Lou Deng, or Andre Igudalo. Had we been better evaluators of talent we could have had Josh Smith, Al Jefferson, or Jameer Nelson, all drafted after Luke Jackson. The point is make smart moves and draft order means alot less.

  • Baclap

    @tsm – I think I might kill myself if we went after Cousins

  • EdgewaterJoe

    What the start seems to be showing, most of all, is that Irving was worthy of the #1 pick – he may very well be worth 5-6 wins by himself this year. (I’m already looking forward to the Bulls game this week to see how he’ll do against Derrick Rose.) It also shows Grant knew a thing or two by grabbing Tristan Thompson — he’s contributing and may be one of the bigger early surprises in this draft class. It tells me Chris Grant may very well be a damn good G.M. (definitely better than Danny Ferry), that Byron Scott knows how to work with point guards, and overall bodes well for the future of the franchise no matter what the draft picks wind up being.

    As for those draft picks, I think the path is being paved to deal Jamison for sure, likely Varejao, and probably even either Sessions or Boobie, for some expiring contracts, sold role players, and most importantly more lottery balls/draft picks. Remember, all the Cavs need to do is be in the top five and they’ll have a good chance to get the second star they never could with MeBron in Cleveland (not that, as I still suspect is the case until proven otherwise, that MeBron is an actual #1 guy in the crunch.)

    For now, stop being such Cleveland sports fans and enjoy the wins.