The Cavaliers(27-17) finished their five-game road trip in Minnesota against the Timberwolves(22-22) on Saturday night.
In this contest, Cleveland had their largest lead of 14 points in the third quarter, but behind 26 points from Anthony Edwards and 56 points from their bench, Minnesota defeated the Cavs 110-102 at Target Center.
Cleveland finished their five-game road trip 2-3.
Here’s the Great, the Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to the Timberwolves.
Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley led the way with 19 points apiece. Allen was 8/10 from the field, while Mobley was 6/11. Allen added eight rebounds and two blocks, while Mobley chipped in with eight boards.
Not So Great:
Donovan Mitchell had been battling an illness, and it impacted his play. Mitchell was 5/16 from the field, including 2/9 from deep. He finished with 14 points, three rebounds, and six assists. In fact, the Cavs’ backcourt combined for only 29 points. Darius Garland had 15 points for Cleveland.
Turnovers: Cleveland had 18 turnovers, which led to 28 points for Minnesota. Five of their 18 turnovers were in the fourth, and the Timberwolves scored 13 points off those fourth-quarter turnovers. It’s hard to win when you turn the ball over at that rate.
Fourth Quarter: The Cavs led 80-77 after three quarters, but defensively, they fell apart in the fourth. Minnesota shot 73% from the field in the final quarter, and much of that production came from their bench. Jaylen Nowell(eight points), Luke Garza(seven points), Naz Reid(five points), and Austin Rivers(four points) combined for 24 of Minnesota’s 33 fourth-quarter points. Minnesota outscored Cleveland 33-22 in the fourth.
Overall, Minnesota shot 56% from the field.
The five-game road trip ends in disappointment. Again, it comes down to being able to close out games. Two(Minnesota, Utah) of the three losses on this trip came down to being unable to finish the job. They will have to learn how to do that on the road. Winning in the NBA is challenging, and winning on the road is even more challenging, but elite teams figure it out.
Cleveland returns home on Monday to face the Pelicans on MLK Jr. Day.
Best of the Rest:
-Caris LeVert had 12 points off the bench for Cleveland.
-Rudy Gobert(groin) did not play in the second half.
-Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love, who both were drafted and played for the Timberwolves, checked in together in the first quarter and received a massive ovation from the crowd. Rubio was playing his second game after returning from a torn ACL.
-With the win, Minnesota(2-0) sweeps the season-series versus the Cavs.
On Tuesday night, Donovan Mitchell came back to Utah for the first time since the trade that sent him to Cleveland in the offseason.
In his return, Mitchell, who spent the first five seasons of his career with the Jazz, got a lot of cheers from the fans in Utah.
However, while he was special(46 points), the Cavs(26-16) would fall to the Jazz(20-22) 116-114 at Vivint Arena.
Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to the Jazz.
Donovan Mitchell returned to Utah and balled out. He scored 17 of his 46 points(14/27 FG, 7/18 3-PT FG) in the fourth to go along with five rebounds, six assists, and three steals. Mitchell brought the Cavs all the way back from a 13-point third-quarter deficit, but it wasn’t enough.
In the loss, Mitchell recorded his 500th career steal.
Darius Garland had 21 points, five rebounds, and six assists as the Cavs’ backcourt combined for 67 of the team’s 114 points.
First 10:37 of the Fourth Quarter: At one point in the fourth, Mitchell scored 10 straight for the Cavs and gave them a 101-94 lead with just over six minutes to go, which was their largest lead of the quarter. It appeared, at that point, that Cleveland was in control.
Not So Great:
The last 1:23 of the Fourth Quarter: The last 1:23 belonged to Jordan Clarkson, who scored 15 of his team-high 32 points in the fourth.
With the Cavs leading 107-102, Clarkson took over. He hit a step-back three, plus the foul, which was ruled a flagrant foul on Caris LeVert, and with the free throw, the score was 107-106.
Because of the flagrant foul, Utah would retain possession of the ball. Clarkson was again fouled by LeVert shooting a three, and he made all three free throws to give Utah a 109-107 lead.
With 40 seconds to go, and Utah leading 109-107, Clarkson would hit a floater to seal the deal.
Rebounding: The Jazz outrebounded the Cavs 54-37 in this contest and had 27-second chance points. The Cavs played most of the game without their starting center and leading rebounder Jarrett Allen, who left the game in the first quarter with an illness and did not return.
This was an emotional night, and again, it appeared Mitchell was going to have a happy homecoming, but as J.B.Bickertstaff had said about the Cavs in the past, they have to learn how to close out games on the road. This was a perfect example of not closing the deal.
The Cavs return to action on Thursday night in Portland against the Blazers.
Best of the Rest:
Lauri Markkanen had 25 points and 16 rebounds against his former team. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Malik Beasley, and Mike Conley each had 13 points.
For the Cavs, Evan Mobley had 12 points and seven rebounds; LeVert had 12 points, and Lamar Stevens added 11 off the bench.
Back to Mitchell, according to Elias Sports, his 46 points were the second-most in a player’s first road game versus a former team.