James, Cavs coast by Timberwolves
Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) – LeBron James poured in 37 points, pulled
down nine rebounds and dished out six assists to lead Cleveland past
Minnesota, 92-76, at Quicken Loans Arena.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 14 points and eight boards for the Cavaliers, who won
their fifth straight outing and are at the top of the NBA’s Eastern Conference
with a 7-2 mark. Damon Jones tallied 11 points off the bench for Cleveland.
Kevin Garnett contributed his usual double-double with 14 points and 11 boards
for the Timberwolves, who lost for the fifth time in six games. Garnett
struggled from the floor, however, missing his first seven shots and finishing
Rookie Craig Smith chipped in with 12 points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota
while Mike James netted 11 points.
The Cavs had a tough time shaking Minnesota but managed to distance themselves
midway through the final frame thanks to LeBron James’ playmaking skills.
First, the All-Star found a wide open Jones on the right baseline for an easy
jumper. Then he spotted Aleksandar Pavlovic all alone in the right corner for
a huge three to make it 75-66 with just over seven minutes left.
Less than four minutes later, Cleveland put the game away with another
impressive flurry. LeBron James stunned the Wolves with a brilliant step-back
three from the top of the circle and, after a Smith miss, Donyell Marshall got
loose inside for a thunderous dunk to give the Cavs a comfortable 15-point
The Timberwolves would not threaten the rest of the way as Cleveland coasted
to the finish.
The two teams were deadlocked at 22 after the first 12 minutes.
Garnett’s long jumper at the buzzer gave the Timberwolves a slim, 45-42 edge
heading to the locker room.
The Cavaliers seemed to be taking control late in the third quarter. Anderson
Varejao’s three-point play, with just over a minute left in the frame, gave
Cleveland a nine-point advantage, 66-57. But, the Wolves responded with five
straight points to enter the final stanza down by just four, 66-62.
The Cavs played without their second leading scorer, guard Larry Hughes.
Hughes sat out with a sprained right ankle and is also expected to miss
the team’s next game against Washington on Saturday…Minnesota has now lost
four straight away from home..The Cavaliers are off to a 5-1 start at home.