The Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves last night 93-92 surviving a big fourth quarter comeback and a missed Kevin Love shot. The TWolves controlled the bookend quarters, the start of the 1st and the entire 4th, while the Cavs were strong in between. Both teams have playoff aspirations and competed as such. For the TWolves it was their first loss of the young season, while the Cavaliers pulled to 2-2 with wins over two tough teams in the Wolves and Nets, a loss to the high seed bound Pacers and a tough loss to the lowly Bobcats.
There were interesting stats that pop out from the game and tell an interesting story.
Timberwolves Shoot 36.2% from the field
The TWolves employ Kevin Martin and Kevin Love and still shot a very low percentage. Martin made 7 of 16 while Love only made 8 of 20 shots. Spanish point guard extraordinaire Ricky Rubio was 0-7 and mighty mite JJ Barea was 4-11 which allowed the Cavs guards to play off their man and hedge to the middle of the floor.
CJ Miles Led the Cavs in Scoring with 19, in ONLY 19 minutes
Miles has had a hot hand and seems to of found his niche in the new Cavaliers under Mike Brown yet only played 19 minutes last night. During that time he contributed 19 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks with only 1 turnover and 1 foul. Brown is still working on his rotations but on a night like this for Miles more minutes would be beneficial. He played as many minutes as rehabbing Andrew Bynum.
The TWolves Shot 17.9% from 3 Pt Range
Again with shooters like Martin and Love, along with Barea sometimes, this team should shoot better percentages. Martin was the only Wolf to make a 3 pointer, going a great 5 for 8. Love missed all 7 of his including a possible game winner. A lack of threat from Rubio (0-3), Corey Brewer (0-4), and Barea (0-4) allowed the Cavs to limit the rest of the Wolves on defense.
Cavs Shots 45.9% from the Field and 90.9% on FTs
The Cavs have struggled on offense but were hitting tonight. Led by Miles 8-13 night and Anderson Varejao’s 6-7 shooting the Cavs kept great offensive flow threw the first 3 quarters. In the 4th they stopped moving the ball as much but still pulled out the win. The almost 91% from the free throw line is huge for a team with alot of bigs and driving guard play, yet the number masks the fact that they only went to the line 11 times with Bynum hitting all 6 of his free throws. The team will need to draw more fouls in order to be more competitive.
Andrew Bynum Played 19 minutes and in both Halves
Very quickly Bynum is starting to get more minutes and find more success. While he isn’t even close to where he used to be, and may never get there, he contributes on both ends of the floor. He set screens, made his free throws and threw his big body around down low. He collected 4 rebounds and blocked 3 shots and provided generally good defense even when drawn out by Love’s range.
The TWolves had 16 Steals
The TWolves gambled much of the night on defense leading to 16 steals. Only a few times did their gambling seem to be exploited by the Cavs, mostly with backdoor cuts. Their defense led to offense, especially in the 4th quarter. They also limited their turnovers to 17 which was a basic wash with their steals. While they have some limited on the ball defenders they play the passing lanes great and are aggressive leading to fast break points.