What is the best way to get out of a scoring slump? This year it seems to be playing the Cleveland Cavaliers. It was the formula for Kevin Love, who, after returning from injury that sidelined him to start the season, scored a season high 36 points and had 13 rebounds to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 91-73 victory over the Cavaliers.
Neither team had their starting point guard, as Kyrie Irving and Ricky Rubio both continue to recover from injuries. It was evident throughout, as both teams handled the ball poorly, to the tune of 41 combined turnovers, and shot poorly, 38.2% from the floor. Cleveland had the worse end of it, as they are also without rookie first-round pick Dion Waiters. They had 18 turnovers themselves and could never really get into a rhythm.
Anderson Varejao's streak of 10 consecutive double-doubles came to a halt matching up against Love, as he only managed four points to go along with his 14 rebounds. The combination of neither starting guard and Varejao's issues on the stat sheet added up to the Cavaliers really struggling offensively. They were led in scoring by Alonzo Gee, who scored 16 points, but only had two other players, C.J. Miles and Donald Sloan, manage double figure scoring.
While the Timberwolves only had three players in double figures as well, Love's 36 really put them over the edge. Luke Ridnour scored 12 points and had seven assists and JJ Barea scored 10 off the bench.
Love himself got to the free throw line double the amount of times of Cleveland. Minnesota finished the night with 35 shots from the charity stripe to the Cavaliers' nine. While some of this may have been home court advantage, the Cleveland players were not aggressively attacking the basket, and it showed from their lack of free throws.
This is the first of another back-to-back weekend for the Cavaliers, as they play the Detroit Pistons tonight at Quicken Loans Arena. Last time the two teams met up, it was similar to this game in that the Pistons got out a fast start and Cleveland was never able to catch up. At home, the Cavaliers will look to try and get things going early, so they don't have to play from behind the entire game.
Without Irving and Waiters, though, it may be tough for this team to get going. Varejao has played at a very high level, but he needs help. While Gee scored some last night, someone will have to give coach Byron Scott more help for Cleveland to be successful.
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