Game 52: Timberwolves at Cavs
Quicken Loans Arena
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM), WFUN (970 AM)/Fox Sports Ohio
WHAT HAPPENED: I'm calling this the worst loss of the season. You could see this building as the game wore on. The Timberwolves gained confidence because the Cavs allowed them to hang around.
It all starts with the Cavs' defense, or lack thereof. Unless things change, this could possible cost Byron Scott his job.
Let's dig into this a little more. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert wants a team that defends with the best of them. He wants a team that hangs its hat on defense. That's not the Cavs.
Gilbert was proud of the way the Cavs used to defend in the Mike Brown era. They got after teams. Of course, once they lit a fire under LeBron James, he quickly became the best defender in the league, and still is.
Scott talks a good game. He says he sees improvement in the Cavs' defense. However, I don't see that improvement on the court.
On Monday, it was horrible. The T-Wolves shot 52 percent from the field and 57 percent from the 3-point line. In the fourth quarter, the T-Wolves shot 75 percent from the field. They outscored the T-Wolves, 51-46, in the second half.
The T-Wolves were playing without five key players, most notably power forward Kevin Love. It doesn't matter when the Cavs play poor teams. They usually play down to their level.
Love has missed 19 games and is expected to be sidelined until late March.
That's too bad for Cleveland fans. The Olympic champion is fun to watch.
This was a game the Cavs should have won. They had won three of their previous four games. The Cavs lost the earlier meeting with Minnesota on Dec. 7, 91-73.
This was Ricky Rubio's debut at The Q. He had been injured in the past. He finished with 13 points, 10 assists and five steals. He's a joy to watch.
Keep your eye on Kyrie Irving's sprained left ankle. A team spokesman said Irving was fine, but those things have a way of changing overnight. Stay tuned.
NEWS FEED: Jerry Zgoda's story on the struggling Timberwolves in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
LAST GAME: The Cavs lost to Denver on Saturday, 111-103.
SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Mickael Gelabale (6-7, 215)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 227) vs. Derrick Williams (6-8, 243)
C Tyler Zeller (7-0, 250) vs. Nikola Pekovic (6-11, 281)
SG Dion Waiters (6-4, 221) vs. Luke Ridnour (6-2, 173)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 191) vs. Ricky Rubio (6-4, 194)
Cavs – C Anderson Varejao, G Josh Selby
Timberwolves - F Chase Budinger, G Malcolm Lee, G Brandon Roy
Monty McCutchen, Nick Buchert, Mark Lindsay