The Cavs are without their two leading scorers (Kyrie Irving--fractured finger & Dion Waiter--sprained ankle) and it was clear that the Cavs offense struggled mightily scoring the ball.
The TWolves outscored the Cavs 25-16 in both the first and fourth quarters as Minnesota cruised to it's ninth win of the season and push their record back to .500 on the season.
Andrei Kirilenko returned to action and gave the Wolves a big boost in his return with another all-around game: 8pts, 7reb, 6ast, 4stls, 3blks. His back issues will likely be a lingering issue throughout the season, but here's hoping that his time missed is kept to a minimum as the Wolves are clearly a much better team (on both ends of the floor) with AK on the court.
The Wolves held the Cavs to just 73 points tonight (a new season-worst for a TWolves opponent) the Wolves are now allowing just 91.9 points a game for opponents. I don't know for sure (and won't until tomorrow), but chances are good that the Wolves now boast a Top 2 or 3 defense in the NBA (could be #1 for all I know!). To say they've improved from last season would be the biggest understatement, ever.
Let's take a look at some of tonight's key players...
K. Love: 36pts, 13reb, 1stl, 1blk, 3tos, 10-19 FG, 2-5 3PT, 14-18 FT in 35 min.
L. Ridnour: 12pts, 5reb, 7ast, 1stl, 1to, 3fls, 6-12 FG, 0-1 3PT in 31 min.
A. Kirilenko: 8pts, 7reb, 6ast, 4stls, 3blks, 3tos, 1fl, 4-5 FG, 0-1 3PT in 31 min.
A. Gee: 16pts, 1reb, 1ast, 1blk, 1to, 7-12 FG, 2-6 3PT in 31 min.
D. Sloan: 10pts, 5reb, 1ast, 1stl, 3tos, 4-11 FG, 1-2 3PT, 1-2 FT in 31 bench min.
A. Varejo: 4pts, 14reb, 2ast, 1blk, 2tos, 5fls, 2-10 FG in 34 min.
NOT: Anderson Varejo and the Cavalier offense. Varejo was on a double-double streak. With another double-double tonight he would've tied the Cavs' franchise record for consecutive DD's, the TWolves D held him to just 4pts on 20% shooting from the field. Without their two leading scorers (Irving & Waiters) Cleveland scored a season-worst (for a MIN opponent) 73pts.
MISC. STATS: Andrei Kirilenko had another GREAT all-around game, he finished with a season-high 4 steals in this one.....Malcolm Lee tied season & career highs in free throws made (4) and attempted (6). While setting new season/career-highs in defensive (8) and total rebounds (8).....
Let's take a look at the team stats...
Fast Break PTS
PTS in the Paint
Team TO's (PTS off)
Minnesota has the next four days off as they won't be back in action until Wednesday vs. the Denver Nuggets at the Target Center. We'll have a full gameday preview of that one early next week, until then thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!