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Find out the scoop on the CAVS from award-winning sports writer Bob Finnan.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Game 49: Cavs at Timberwolves

Target Center
Radio: WTAM-AM 1100, WMMS-FM 100.7, La Mega-FM 97.7
TV: Fox Sports Ohio

1. This one was all about Kevin Love. He spent the first six years of his career with the Timberwolves before being traded to the Cavs on Aug. 23. It was a bit of a controversial trade. The Cavs sacrificed No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins. He's going to be a star in this league. There is no question. The Cavs were trading for a player that was already at that level in Love. LeBron James wanted him. GM David Griffin went out and got him.

2. What has transpired is a bit of a conundrum. We watch highlights of a young stallion in Minnesota making jumpers and athletic plays. Wiggins had a career-high 33 points on Saturday, but just two in the fourth quarter. He's playing for the worst team in the league. He also has a green light to jack it up. He's averaging 15.1 points and 4.2 rebounds. He's shooting 42.9 percent from the field and 34.9 percent from the 3-point line. Some Cavs fans regret trading him and want him back.

3. Love has been good, but far from great. He's averaging 17.2 points and 10.3 rebounds. His shooting has been off all season, however. He's shooting 42.7 percent from the field and 33.2 percent from the 3-point line. Love was very good on Saturday with 14 points and a game-high 17 rebounds. He's shooting 41.3 percent from behind the arc. He handled it well going back to Minny.

4. The Wolves produced a video entitled, "The Return," regarding Love's return to his old stomping ground. In it, they mock Love a bit by not showing him in the video. Love got a kick out of it. He knew what was coming tonight. A lot of boos.

5. The Cavs have won seven of the last 10 meetings with the Wolves at the Target Center. They've also won seven in a row against Western Conference opponents.

6. The Cavs won their 10th game in a row. They wouldn't have done it without LeBron James, who had a game-high 36 points, 16 in the pivotal fourth quarter. The Cavs' defense kicked in in the fourth quarter. They outscored the Wolves, 30-11, in the fourth and held them to 17 percent shooting from the floor. They haven't lost since losing to Phoenix on Jan. 13 - more than two weeks. It's the longest streak since they won 13 in a row from Jan. 16-Feb. 11, 2011. 

7. The last time the Cavs faced the Wolves - on Dec. 23 - center Anderson Varejao tore his Achilles' tendon and was lost for the year. Love's thumb was sprained in that game, but he didn't miss time because of it. The Cavs hope they can stay healthy for a stretch of games because they are just plowing through their schedule.

8. The Cavs had made a least 11 3-pointers in four of their previous five games. Over that stretch, they are shooting 39.8 percent from behind the arc (66 of 166). They have become a 3-point shooting team. They made just 4 of 14 on Saturday and never got into any kind of flow from behind the arc.

9. J.R. Smith is entrenched at shooting guard. It would be a mistake to move him out of there. He has scored in double figures in nine of his previous 12 starts with the Cavs. He was held to just three points against the Wolves.

10. The Cavs finished off four games in five nights - and won them all. That was a tough stretch, especially on the road.

UP NEXT: vs. Philadelphia, Quicken Loans Arena, 7 p.m. Monday

SF LeBron James (6-8, 250) vs. Kevin Martin (6-7, 204)
PF Kevin Love (6-10, 243) vs. Thaddeus Young (6-8, 221)
C Timofey Mozgov (7-1, 250) vs. Nikola Pekovic (6-11, 295)
SG J.R. Smith (6-6, 220) vs. Andrew Wiggins (6-8, 199)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 193) vs. Lorenzo Brown (6-5, 189)
Cavs - C Anderson Varejao, G Joe Harris
Timberwolves - F Shabazz Muhammad, F Robbie Hummel
Jason Phillips, Curtis Blair, Josh Tiven


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