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.
|Percentages||.520||.571||.824||Team Rebounds: 5|
|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|
|Percentages||.506||.278||.636||Team Rebounds: 9|
|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|