Notebook: Timberwolves 100, Cavaliers 92



Posted Feb 11, 2013 11:35 PM

Brian Dulik, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: Shooting guard Luke Ridnour scored 13 of his game-high 21 points in the fourth quarter as the short-handed Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 100-92. Center Nikola Pekovic added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Timberwolves, while point guard Ricky Rubio collected 13 points, 10 assists and five steals. All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving had 20 points and seven assists for the Cavaliers, who also received 16 points and nine boards from power forward Tristan Thompson. Minnesota only dressed 10 players in snapping its eight-game road losing streak dating back to Jan. 9.

QUOTABLE: "We needed that win bad. It's been a long month for us. As much as you don't want to admit it, losing does take a toll on you. It's been a while since we've won on the road, so this was a good one for us to finally win."
-- Timberwolves shooting guard Luke Ridnour.

THE STAT: The five injured Timberwolves who sat out the game are averaging a combined 54.1 points, which is more than half of their team average of 95.2 per game. Small forwards Andrei Kirilenko (right quadriceps) and Chase Budinger (left knee), power forward Kevin Love (right hand), shooting guard Brandon Roy (right knee), and point guard Malcolm Lee comprise the ailing quintet. "With all the players we have injured, everyone has to step up for us," Rubio said. "Today, everyone did that. We fight all the way through and win the game together."

TURNING POINT: Ridnour began his fourth-quarter barrage by hitting a mid-range jumper with 8:32 left that put Minnesota ahead for good at 78-76. The nine-year veteran added four field goals, including a 3-pointer, and two free throws in the final 6:09 as the Timberwolves won for the third time in their last 18 games. "Luke has been amazing all year long," Rubio said. "You have to give him credit for making big shots and helping the team in a lot of different ways." Ridnour finished the game 9-for-14 from the field, 1-of-2 beyond the arc, and 2-for-2 from the foul line.

QUOTABLE II: "It was just a (very)-poor effort by us from the start. It didn't look like we were interested. Minnesota made some tough shots -- don't take anything away from their guys -- but for the most part, we gave this game to them."
-- Cavaliers small forward C.J. Miles.

HOT: The Timberwolves only dressed four guards -- Ridnour, Rubio, Alexey Shved and J.J. Barea -- but they combined to shoot 21-for-36 from the field (58.3 percent) and score 50 points. ... Minnesota small forward Mickael Gelabale netted 11 points and six rebounds in 28 minutes. The sharpshooter from Guadeloupe had been out of the NBA for 4 1/2 years until signing with the Timberwolves on Jan. 19. ... Rubio's five steals tied his season high. ... Cavaliers rookie shooting guard Dion Waiters made all six of his field goal attempts. ... Thompson had a career-high four steals and is averaging 14.6 points and 10.6 rebounds over his last 26 games.

NOT: Irving suffered a left ankle injury in the second when he landed on Shved's foot after making a 3-pointer. The reigning NBA Rookie of the Year returned to the court at the start of the third -- ringing up 11 points and four assists in the second half -- before receiving medical treatment after the game. ... Waiters made six turnovers in 21 minutes. ... Cavaliers center Tyler Zeller did not score and is 1-for-5 shooting over 82 minutes in the last three games. ... The Timberwolves committed 22 turnovers, including a season-high seven by Rubio. ... Minnesota power forward Derrick Williams was limited to 16 minutes because of foul trouble.

QUOTABLE III: "I don't know if it was our worst loss of the year, but it wasn't pretty. It was terrible in the second half. I thought we were careless. The spacing was bad. We went back to some old, bad habits. We can't play that way."
-- Cavaliers coach Byron Scott.

GOOD MOVE: Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman told Ridnour that he would get him more involved in the offense against the Cavaliers. He did, as Ridnour attempted a team-high tying 14 shots, nearly all of which were wide open. "Rick said he would try and run some stuff and get me more looks tonight," Ridnour said. "He did a great job coaching, like he always does, because he was able to make that happen."

BAD MOVE: Barea missed Minnesota's last game with a left mid-foot sprain that he suffered on Feb. 8 at New York. The Puerto Rico native declared himself ready to play just before tipoff, but was visibly hampered by the injury as the game wore on. Barea had five points, three assists and three turnovers in 15 minutes. "I didn't think he was moving well at all, especially in the second half," Adelman said.

NOTABLE: Miles openly criticized his Cavaliers teammates following the loss, saying, "You look out on the floor and see five guys with their shoulders down. Then at the end, guys get so focused on, 'What can I do to get mine (statistics) if we're going to lose the game.' I don't buy into the youth thing. We've got to get better at playing the right way." ... Cleveland is 3-2 on its seven-game homestand, which runs through Feb. 20. ... The Timberwolves had not won on the road since Jan. 3 at Denver, which was the last game that Love played in. ... Minnesota is 7-21 since Dec. 15, when it moved a season-high three games above .500.

NEXT: For the Timberwolves, Wednesday vs. Utah, Feb. 20 vs. Philadelphia, Feb. 22 @ Oklahoma City. For the Cavaliers, Wednesday vs. San Antonio, Feb. 20 vs. New Orleans, Feb. 23 @ Orlando.