Good afternoon, Mr. and Mrs. America and all the ships at sea! It’s me: the Optimist, checking in from an unseasonably moderate Minneapolis, Minnesota. How ‘bout we dig in to another half-baked episode of NEWS ….AROUND … THE … LEAGUE? It’ll be fun.

Game Summary

The Cleveland Cavaliers (4-15) take on the Minnesota Timberwolves (8-9) at the Target Center tonight for the first of two regular season matchups. Tipoff is at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Last time Cleveland went to Minnesota on Jan. 6, 2012, the Cavs’ defense held the Wolves to just .392 (31-79) shooting from the floor, which resulted in a 98-87 victory.

The Byron Scott show aired Thursday, December 6, 2012 from 7-8 p.m. on Cavs.Com, Newsradio WTAM 1100 and the Cavaliers radio network. Hear the coach recap last night’s game with Chicago, preview weekend games at Minnesota and vs. Detroit, give injury updates on Kyrie and Dion and review the movie of the week. Tyler Zeller spoke following practice today about his mask and following the lead of Anderson Varejao, and get to know the newest Cavalier Kevin Jones.

The NBA features the 450 best ballplayers in the world and each of them has to be mentally focused on a nightly basis. But how do you concentrate on basketball when your family and friends are essentially in a war zone some 6,000 miles away?

Cavaliers forward Omri Casspi – the only Israeli player in the NBA – is alone in understanding this concern, one he’s dealt with since entering the league in 2009.

And in mid-November, as the Israelis and Hamas squared off in another deadly exchange, Casspi played through the distraction of knowing loved ones were in harm’s way.