Love, Timberwolves steamroll Cavs
Minneapolis, MN (SportsNetwork.com) - What a difference a week makes.
Kevin Love missed a potential game-winner in Minnesota's first meeting with Cleveland, but by the time the final buzzer sounded in Wednesday's rematch, the All-Star forward was on the bench soaking in a blowout victory.
Love scored 33 points on 10-of-16 shooting, pulled down eight rebounds and handed out six assists over three quarters as the Timberwolves annihilated the Cavaliers, 124-95, at Target Center.
All five Minnesota starters scored in double figures and were spectators in the final quarter after building an insurmountable lead. Ricky Rubio recorded a career-high 16 assists to go with 16 points and Corey Brewer put up 27 points in the rout.
The Timberwolves made a staggering 65 percent of their shots over the first three quarters and assisted on 29 of their 40 made baskets in that span.
Cleveland did not have an answer for the up-tempo style and fell for the fourth time in its last five games. Kyrie Irving led the Cavs with 20 points.
The game's pace immediately following the opening tip was dictated by Rubio.
In a four-possession span late in the opening quarter, he fed a cross-court pass in transition to Brewer for a 3-pointer, threaded the defense with two straight bounce passes to Love for easy layups and found Robbie Hummel in the corner for another triple and a 32-17 Minnesota lead.
"We wanted to keep him pushing the ball," Timberwolves head coach Rick Adelman said of his point guard. "It always helps when you're making shots, and tonight we were making shots."
The Spanish playmaker showed he can score as well, converting a three-point play and hitting one from behind the arc on back-to-back trips to finish off a 10-point, eight-assist frame that saw the Timberwolves jump out to a 38-24 lead.
Brewer's heads-up steal and uncontested layup off a Minnesota made basket midway through the second highlighted another one-sided quarter that ended with the hosts taking a substantial 70-47 advantage into the break.
The lopsided first half saw Minnesota shoot 63 percent from the field, score 22 more points in the paint (34-12) and net 22 fastbreak points.
The Cavs did not record a single point in transition before the break and apparently failed to make adjustments in the locker room. Minnesota shot an even better 68 percent from the field in the third frame, as Love led the way with 14 points, and the hosts cruised to its third win in four games.
"They beat us in transition; they beat us in the half court. They cut harder, they played harder, they were more physical," summarized Cavs head coach Mike Brown. "Give them credit for winning the game."
Cleveland fell to 0-6 on the road this season.
Minnesota led by as many as 39 ... The Timberwolves had success offensively despite guard Kevin Martin sitting out with flu-like symptoms. Martin is averaging 24.6 points per game this season ... The last time the Timberwolves started a season 6-3 came in the 2004-05 campaign ... The Cavs defeated the Timberwolves, 93-92, on Nov. 4 ... Cleveland center Andrew Bynum did not travel with the team because he was tending to a family medical emergency.
11/14 00:31:41 ET