Box Score: Timberwolves 100, Cavaliers 92

Another frustrating defensive evening for the Cavaliers.

After having their 3 game winning streak snapped Saturday night, the Cavaliers were hoping to hop back on the winning train facing an injury depleted Minnesota Timberwolves team. Instead, the Cavaliers were left scratching their heads, more questions than answers as to how to get stops on defense particularly in the 4th quarter.

The Cavaliers made a nice 1st quarter run and lead for much of the 2nd quarter before Minnesota came back and stole the lead at the half. In the 3rd quarter the Cavaliers looked out of sync and Minnesota appeared on their way to victory. But the Cavaliers bench unit came back and tied the game in the 4th quarter before the Wolves finally pulled away for good. The Cavaliers tried to make one last run, cutting the deficit to 3, before their inability to stop the Wolves came back to haunt them.

Luke Ridnour killed the Cavaliers all night and the Wolves, the NBA’s worst 3 point shooting team, caught fire going 8 of 14 from distance to put away the Cavaliers. Ridnour finished with 21 points and Nikola Pekovic added 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Dion Waiters was aggressive early and finished with 12 points on 6-6 shooting from the field despite surprisingly not playing down the stretch. Tristan Thompson had a nice game with 16 points and 9 rebounds and Wayne Ellington scored 10 off the bench against his old team. Kyrie Irving, who gave the Cavaliers a scare late in the 2nd quarter when he rolled his ankle coming down on an opponent’s foot after hitting a three, lead the team with 20 points, 7 assists, and 4 rebounds. Irving didn’t look physically hobbled by the ankle in the 2nd half, but he was noticeably less aggressive in the 2nd half.

This was by no means the worst game the Cavaliers played this season, but it was frustrating none the less falling at home to a team missing Kevin Love, Andrei Kirilenko, and Chase Budinger. The Wolves had lost 4 in a row, 10 of 11, and 8 straight on the road coming into this game. Circle this one as a winable game that the Cavaliers let slip away by poor 4th quarter defense. It’s a recurring theme for this season, but until the Cavaliers can force defensive stops in crunch time, these results will continue to repeat themselves.





Luke Ridnour
Ricky Rubio
Nikola Pekovic
Mickael Gelabale
Derrick Williams
Percentages.520.571.824Team Rebounds: 5
Dante Cunningham
Alexey Shved
J.J. Barea
Greg Stiemsma
Chase Budinger
DNP – Inactive
Chris Johnson
DNP – Coach’s Decision
Andrei Kirilenko
DNP – Strained Right Quadriceps
Malcolm Lee
DNP – Inactive
Kevin Love
DNP – Right Hand Injury
Brandon Roy
DNP – Inactive


Kyrie Irving
Dion Waiters
Tyler Zeller
Tristan Thompson
Alonzo Gee
Percentages.506.278.636Team Rebounds: 9
Wayne Ellington
C.J. Miles
Marreese Speights
Shaun Livingston
Luke Walton
Omri Casspi
DNP – Coach’s Decision
Daniel Gibson
DNP – Coach’s Decision
Kevin Jones
DNP – Coach’s Decision
Josh Selby
DNP – Inactive
Anderson Varejao
DNP – Inactive
  • thenoclist

    Do you only do the box score thing when they lose or what?

  • NoVA Buckeye

    Why is Luke Walton still on the team?

  • mgbode

    it’s not his fault Irving was off tonight. he just never seemed in sync.

  • Kildawg

    At least the Dolans opened up the purse strings for the Tribe to sign Michael Bourn…

  • Andrew Schnitkey

    I do a box score for every weeknight game. But when the Cavs lose 75% of their games, yeah, I mostly am doing them when they lose.

  • Andrew Schnitkey

    I actually don’t mind the minutes Walton is getting. There’s nobody on the bench I’d rather see getting his minutes. He doesn’t score much, but he brings a veteran presence and he gives good effort.

  • SDA

    LOL Andrew. The Cavs losing this year doesn’t bother me the only thing I get concerned about is their lack of Defense

  • porckchop

    I wish I could understand Scott’s rotations, both in game and game to game. Its like trying to follow a 3rd grade dodgeball tournament, people running everywhere, nobody knows if they’re in or out or when they’ll return. I get that Waiters was a little sloppy with the ball but he seemed nailed to the bench for the entire 4th, after having a very nice 3rd. I don’t see any reason CJ Miles should be taking minutes from Waiters at this point.
    Second, if you have a big man with any skill – and I mean even a little – you are going to dominate the Cavs. I’d say that front court help is more important than wing help right now. When Javele McGee and Pecovic, look like Walton and Unseld, you have problems. Two games in a row big men just get whatever position they want and either score or kick to wide open shooters. Pecovic probably had 4-5 hockey assists last night when he’d kick out and the defensive rotation never caught up to the 2nd pass.

  • Wow

    Zeller needs to hit the weight room and man up already. Speights is doing his part, he needs to start doing his.

  • mgbode

    hard to gain much mass/strength during the season. we have to hope he can do it in the offseason.

  • Andrew Schnitkey

    To be fair, Pekovic is an awesome player. I’d love to have him playing for the Cavaliers.

    But yeah, the Cavaliers’ defensive rotations are mind numbing. When an opposing backcourt player drives past his main at the point of attack (which happens routinely), the Cavaliers’ bigs are always slow to help and cut off the attack, allowing the opponents to get too deep into the lane. By the time the big finally decides to help, it’s too late for the second defensive rotation and it leads to either an easy angle for the layup or else an easy kick to a big man who is wide open for an uncontested dunk. And it happens over and over and over.

    Bottom line, the Cavaliers sorely miss Varejao.

  • mgbode

    I completely agree, but I also want to add in that the absence of Andy doesn’t make our wings so slow to rotate to the 3pt shooters.

  • Andrew Schnitkey

    Very true. And a lot of that is a function of lazy sagging/floating into the paint area and late secondary rotations. I don’t think this team communicates on defense whatsoever, and maybe that’s a function of Andy being out and not enough veteran leadership. I don’t know. I don’t have any answers, and I’m not qualified to be a coach. I just hope Byron eventually stumbles on the right buttons to push to get this team to improve on defense.

  • Andrew Schnitkey

    Yeah, the losing isn’t what frustrates me. It’s the effort and energy that we see in games like this. And the overall lack of defensive effort is particularly criminal.

  • porckchop

    I completely agree on Pekovic, he’s like Ivan Drago with a poor man’s Marc Gasol offensive game (do you remember when poor man’s Marc Gasol was a serious dig?). I keep trying to give Scott the benefit of the doubt because the players are just terrible, but I can’t shake the feeling that there are other coaches that could coax a better defensive effort out of these guys.

  • Harv 21

    This game gave me clarity.

    Against a horrible team playing on the road shorthanded, the Cavs players would not defend at all. Won’t go on again about what I call Kyrie’s Westminster Kennel Club defense (casually trotting alongside his guy up the court like he’s showing for the sideline judges before dropping the leash). There was total absence of defensive rotations, ‘Wolves so wide open for jumpers 10 feet from the rim that I was counting to make sure we shouldn’t be penalized for too few guys on the court. And this occuring for most of the game.

    And Kyrie not running the offense at all, with Byron either not encouraging him to or Kyrie simply ignoring the coaches so that he could play hero. And with no running offense Waiters reverting to one-on-one Philly ball, turning over the ball again and again.

    Short of some dramatic happenings in the season’s second half, I do not believe Byron will be the coach next year. He dresses and talks and stands like a good coach. But apparent now that Andy’s hustle and defense hid major coaching deficiencies. Not worried about the record or the youth. I’m talking about this: there is some combination of Byron not being able to teach basic principles and the entire team tuning him out as a rule rather than an exception. Yes, they will play tough against San Antonio because of being ripped. And sometimes their young talent wins out. But what does Byron teach well, what shows up game to game? No defense, no offense, no toughness, no discipline. He came here with a good rep as a guard developer. Meanwhile, this team is often playing just as indifferently and no better than the Manny Harris/Mo Williams blow up abomination team of 2 years ago. I wonder whether with no consequences Kyrie will develop Pete Maravich habits, big points and lots of losses when it’s too lopsided for end-game personal heroics.

  • Jay

    Am I hitting the panic button too early on Tyler Zeller? 25 Minutes and not a single point to show for it? 3 shots taken in 25 minutes? I know the kid is a rookie, but I have grown increasingly worried about the Cavs wasting a pick on him. He just hasn’t looked good lately. Someone talk me off the ledge.

  • mgbode

    Pek’s is a terrible matchup for Tyler. Zeller isn’t ready to handle the power guys. Hopefully, he will be able to add some strength in the next couple offseasons.

  • Andrew Schnitkey

    Can’t really argue with most of this. I think Byron has a free pass for next season, though.