Cavs fall short in Minnesota

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.

Great:

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. 

Bottom Line:

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.

What’s Next:

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.