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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, January 6th (All times eastern)

Cleveland Cavaliers (3-3) at Minnesota Timberwolves (2-4), 8 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Top rookie point guards Kyrie Irving and Ricky Rubio will go heat-to-head tonight for the only time this season when the Cleveland Cavaliers pay a visit to the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight at Target Center.

Irving was selected with the top overall pick in last summer's NBA Draft and is averaging 14.2 points and 5.3 assists so far this season. He had 12 points in Wednesday's 92-77 loss at Toronto in the opener of a seven-game road trip for the Cavs, who had won two straight and three of four games.

Antawn Jamison scored 19 points to go with six rebounds to lead Cleveland, while Omri Casspi netted 10 points and Anderson Varejao pulled down 13 rebounds in the second portion of back-to-back contests.

"This was big for us, especially the young guys," Jamison said of playing the second leg of consecutive games. "A lot of guys have played a lot of minutes. It's not the way we wanted to start the road trip."

The Cavaliers will also visit the Blazers, Jazz, Suns, Lakers and Bobcats on the current road swing. Cavs center Samardo Samuels (personal) is probable for Friday's game.

Minnesota will close out a five-game homestand this evening and has split the first four installments of the residency.

In Wednesday's 90-86 loss versus the Memphis Grizzlies, Kevin Love had a game- high 27 points and pulled down 14 boards and Rubio added 12 points and 10 assists for Minnesota, which had a two-game winning streak come to an end.

Michael Beasley also had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

"We believe we can beat anyone we play, it's just a matter of doing it," said Wolves guard Luke Ridnour, who had 13 points. "Especially at home we have got to find a way to win those game, like I said you got to give them credit, they did the little things."

Rubio is posting 9.3 points and 7.0 assists this season. Fellow Wolves guard J.J. Barea is doubtful for tonight with a strained hamstring and has missed three of the past four contests because of the issue.

Minnesota won both meetings with Cleveland a season ago, but has still dropped 10 of the previous 14 matchups between the two clubs. These two teams have split the last 12 contests in the Twin Cities.

01/06 10:40:04 ET