Cavs hold off Timberwolves
Cleveland, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - C.J. Miles scored 19 points off the bench and the Cleveland Cavaliers withstood a furious late charge from the Minnesota Timberwolves to hold on for a 93-92 victory at Quicken Loans Arena.
Miles went 8-of-13 from the field to help the Cavaliers bounce back from two straight road losses after a season-opening win at home over Brooklyn, while dealing the Timberwolves their first defeat following a 3-0 start.
Minnesota didn't go down easy, however, trimming a 23-point third-quarter deficit down to one on Kevin Love's inside bucket with 38.9 seconds left. The Timberwolves had a chance to complete the comeback when Cleveland's Kyrie Irving misfired on the ensuing possession, but Love's 3-point try just prior to the buzzer fell off the mark.
"We took our time to make our run, but we gave ourselves a chance to win," said Love afterward.
Irving finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists, with Tristan Thompson recording a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Cavs.
Minnesota shot just 5-of-28 from beyond the arc, with Kevin Martin accounting for all five makes en route to a 23-point effort. Love, named the Western Conference Player of the Week earlier in the day, totaled 17 points and 13 rebounds.
The Timberwolves roared out to a 21-point first-quarter lead in Sunday's 109-100 triumph over the New York Knicks, but fell behind early in this one. Cleveland shot 62 percent in the opening period and closed out the frame with a 14-6 spurt to build a 31-23 lead, then dominated most of the second to extend the margin.
Miles, who put up 12 second-quarter points on 5-of-6 shooting, came up with a steal and dunk to ignite an 8-2 run that staked the Cavs to a comfortable 47-31 advantage midway through the session. Cleveland was up by as many as 19 points before cruising into the break owning a 55-38 cushion.
"Getting wide-open looks, I fell like I'm supposed to knock down all of those," said Miles. "And then you get a couple of easy ones and everything else feels like a rhythm after that."
Minnesota hit on a miserable 29.3 percent of its field goal attempts in the first half while committing 11 turnovers that were turned into 11 Cavalier points.
"I think we did a good job of just playing with energy, running the floor and defending," said Miles. "That's what we want to be, a good defensive team."
The Cavaliers continued to pour it on after the intermission, with the differential swelling to 23 points after Alonso Gee buried a triple to make the score 72-49 with 5:11 remaining in the third quarter. Cleveland took a 76-61 lead into the fourth, and held a 16-point edge at 91-75 with five minutes to go.
Cleveland made just one basket the rest of the way, though, as the Timberwolves climbed back in it. J.J. Barea's driving layup with 2:34 left pulled Minnesota within 93-86, and Love found Derrick Williams cutting to the hoop after a Thompson miss to bring his team closer.
Corey Brewer's layup in transition with 1:16 remaining made it a three-point spread, and Love scored inside following Irving's unsuccessful runner to cut the lead to 93-92. Irving's step-back jumper then clanged off the iron, with Martin grabbing the rebound and the T-Wolves calling time out with 11 seconds on the clock.
Minnesota worked the ball to Love for an open look from 25 feet away, but the shot bounced off the rim as time ran out.
Cavs center Andrew Bynum, back from a knee injury that kept him out all of 2012-13 with Philadelphia, had 10 points in a season-high 19 minutes ... The Timberwolves had not trailed after one quarter in any of their three previous wins ... Love averaged 29.7 points and 14.7 rebounds during Minnesota's 3-0 start to earn Player of the Week honors ... Cleveland rookie Anthony Bennett, the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft, went 0-for-3 from the field and has yet to make a field goal in 15 attempts to start his career ... The Cavaliers turned it over 24 times, leading to 26 Minnesota points.
11/04 22:46:36 ET