GameDay Live Blog: Wolves vs. Cavaliers | Nov. 13, 2013

GameDay Live Blog: Wolves vs. Cavaliers | Nov. 13, 2013



Final: The Wolves win 124-95 tonight, really dominating from about midway through the first quarter on. Love scores 33 points and adds eight rebounds and six assists. Brewer added 27 points, Rubio had 16 points and 16 assists. Much more to come tonight, so stay tuned for Timberwolves.com for full coverage throughout the night. MIN 124, CLE 95

Q4 5:57 Gorgui Dieng just connected on a little hook shot at the shot clock and drained it for his first field goal of the night. Both Pek and Turiaf on the bench celebrated with arms extended. Dieng is going through the growing pains of becoming a big man in the NBA, and with that comes a learning curve of staying out of foul trouble and learning how to score against physical defensive schemes. Pekovic said he's trying to help Dieng along, because he's been through that situation before. His rookie year was filled with quick fouls and trips to the bench. He's been able to play without continuous foul trouble for the last three years. MIN 117, CLE 87

Q4 7:39: The Wolves' reserves are in, presumably for good. We've got Price, Shved, Muhammad, D-Will and Dieng out there trying to ice this win while logging some minutes. D-Will with a couple makes this quarter, including a 3-pointer. MIN 115, CLE 83

End Q3: So......the Wolves scored 108 points through three quarters and are up 32. K-Love has 33 points, eight boards and six assists. Brewer has 27 points, and Ricky Rubio has 16 points and 16 assists. He has a legit shot at a 20/20 game (if Adelman decides to play him at all in the fourth, which is highly unlikely since the Wolves are up so much). Wolves are still shooting 64 percent. MIN 108, CLE 76

Q3 2:18: Brewer just hit another 3. He's 5-for-5 tonight with 27 points. The Wolves are rolling right now: 64 percent from the field, 64 percent from 3, and 26 assists on 36 field goals. They have a 25-2 fast break points advantage. MIN 100, CLE 68

Q3 3:45: Kevin Love and Corey Brewer are lights out right now. Love has 23 points with eight boards and six assists. He's 12-of-14 from the line. Brewer has 24 points on 9-of-16 shooting (4-of-4 from 3). The Wolves are up 31 points. MIN 95, CLE 64

Q3 9:24: The Wolves keep pouring it on tonight. They're up 26 after Rubio found a cutting Kevin Love for the jam. That puts Love at 23 points, while Rubio now has 14 points and 11 assists. They're still shooting 63.6 percent from the field (28-44) and have 18 assists on those 28 field goals. MIN 78, CLE 52

Halftime: The Wolves just put up 70 points in the first half without Kevin Martin. That's a new team high for points in a half this season, edging the 67 they put up against the Lakers on Sunday. They shot 62.5 percent from the field, 60 percent from 3 and 93.3 percent from the free-throw line (14-of-15). Love has 19 points and six boards, Brewer has 17 points, Rubio has 12 points and 10 assists, and Hummel, Pek and Barea each have six. For the Cavs, Irving has 11 and Thompson has 10. Minnesota is leading in the paint 34-12 and in transition 22-0. MIN 70, CLE 47

Q2 2:52: The Wolves continue to pour it on tonight. They're up 25 with three minutes left in the half. J.J. Barea is playing like a spark plug off the bench tonight--he's 3-of-3 tonight with six points and a pair of assists. Great to see him get going, because the Wolves need to get more consistent production off the bench. Meanwhile, Brewer has 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting, Love has 16 points on 4-of-8 shooting, and Rubio has 12 points and nine assists. The Wolves are shooting 65 percent from the floor tonight and have a 30-8 points in the paint advantage. They've got a 22-0 fast break points edge. MIN 65, CLE 41

Q2 6:51: Dante Cunningham just scored in transition, and on Anthony Bennett's inbound pass Corey Brewer intercepted the ball and scores. Minnesota just pushed their lead up to a game-high 24 points. MIN 55, CLE 31

Q2 8:40: The Wolves are going nuts right now. They're shooting 61.5 percent from the field right now, 66.7 percent (6-of-9), and they're up 49-20. They pushed the lead out to 20 thanks to another 3-pointer from Brewer (he's 3-of-3) plus a long 2 by Barea. Brewer with 15, Love with 12 and Rubio with 10. MIN 49, CLE 29

End Q1: These first quarters for the Wolves have been incredibly impressive. Another 38 tonight, and they've got a 14-point lead here in heading into the second. Brewer has 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting, Rubio has 10 points and eight assists, and he's 3-of-3 from the field. Love has eight points. Irving hasn't returned yet, and the Wolves went on a 13-0 run after Kyrie left that helped them create separation. MIN 38, CLE 24

Q1 3:07: Kyrie Irving was shaken up minutes ago and left the game in favor of Jarrett Jack. I'll keep you updated on that. Meanwhile, Brewer hit another corner 3 and Love is heating up inside with a couple field goals. Brewer has 12, Love has six and the Wolves lead by 10. MIN 27, CLE 17

Q1 5:45: So, Corey Brewer is doing all right in his first night technically starting at the 2. In this particular system the shooting guard and small forward positions are pretty similar so it's really just a distinction, but Brewer--starting at the 2 in place of Kevin Martin while Robbie Hummel is inserted at the 3--already has nine points on 3-of-5 shooting. He also it a corner 3 earlier in the night. Speaking of 3s, Hummel hit the first of his career moments ago from the wing. Rubio and Love each have a pair, and the Wolves lead by five. Minnesota has an early 6-0 lead in the paint. All the Cleveland points are from Kyrie and Waiters (6 and 5, respectively). MIN 16, CLE 11

Starters:

Cavaliers:
PG-Kyrie Irving, SG-Dion Waiters, SF-Alonzo Gee, PF-Tristan Thompson, C-Anderson Varejao

Wolves: PG-Ricky Rubio, SG-Corey Brewer, SF-Robbie Hummel, PF-Kevin Love, C-Nkola Pekovic

Pregame 6:55 PM: This is new: The Wolves will be without Kevin Martin tonight, who is out with flu-like symptoms. Robbie Hummel will get the start in his place--this is his first career start. That's a significant development for the Wolves, as Martin is shooting 55.8 percent from 3-point range this season.

Pregame 6:30 PM: The Wolves didn't shoot around this morning due to the travel schedule back from the West Coast (the team plane arrived around 4 p.m. yesterday), but they did come in early this afternoon to shoot. Adelman gave the team a chance to sleep in and prepare for tonight, but it was also important to get some shots up prior to tonight's contest.

One major facet of the Wolves' offense that really came to life on the West Coast was Nikola Pekovic's game inside. He put together a pair of double-doubles in L.A., culminating with 25 points and 10 rebounds against the Clippers on Monday. The biggest difference? Adelman said when the offense is functioning, it opens things up down low for Pek.

"He gets better looks when we play better offensively," Adelman said. "If we move the ball and space accordingly, he gets more room to operate. So I think we're figuring that out. Trying to get him the ball a little bit better. He's finishing better. He finished better last game."

Pekovic was a top priority for this Wolves team in the offseason, as they targeted signing him long term during his restricted free agency. With Love and Pekovic in the front court, the Wolves have a dual threat of rebounders who can score. Love has the ability to get his regardless of the scenario--if he gets a double-double tonight, it would be his ninth straight to start the year and the 200th of his career. Pekovic has that ability, too, but he thrives when the Wolves' offensive sets are running with fluidity and movement.

"That's what will make us a good team, is he'll give us an inside presence," Adelman said.

The Cavs will not have center Andrew Bynum tonight due to personal reasons. With Bynum, one of the biggest bruising centers in the league not available, that does help the Wolves tonight. Cleveland does have Anderson Varejao and a combination of big forwards including Tristan Thompson and Anthony Bennett, but not having Bynum does change their complexion.

"It's tough, it's tough from the standpoint that it's still all new for us and we don't have great rhythm yet with him," Mike Brown said. "We've just got to keep playing, and when he comes back we've got to keep searching for that rhythm. But what he has going on is way more important than what we've got going on tonight."

Brown said Earl Clark could be entered back into the rotation tonight, but he's still searching to figure out the right combination of players at those 3-4-5 spots. Lately, Thompson has played at the 4 and Alonzo Gee has been at the 3. That's expected to be the case tonight.

Pregame 3:00 PM: Welcome back to Target Center, folks. It should be a fun game tonight as the Wolves take on the Cleveland Cavaliers. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. on Fox Sports North and 830 WCCO-AM, and be sure to follow along on Twitter as well as right here on the Live Blog for all the pregame news/notes, in-game updates and sarcastic comments you can handle.

First and foremost, it is indeed my birthday today. Thank you for the kind words and notes throughout the afternoon. You are all so great, and I’m happy to be able to share my day with all of you.

And if you’re wondering, I’m 23. …OK not really, but I remember what it was like to be 23. So there’s that.

Now, onto the game.

Minnesota started off so sluggish the last time the Wolves played the Cavs on Nov. 4, but true to form throughout the start of the regular season, Minnesota made a comeback and showed the grit and fight that is quickly becoming part of their identity. They trailed by 23 on that night and had a chance to win at the buzzer (they lost 93-92). On Monday night, the Wolves had a similar comeback—down 11 in the fourth quarter, they had the ball in the game’s final possession with the chance to tie (or win). And if one of the two put-backs at the buzzer would’ve dropped, Minnesota would have at least forced overtime.

“We believe we can win,” Corey Brewer said. “To come back means you believe you can win. So we were down, we gave ourselves a chance….We’re 5-3, which ain’t bad—a one-point loss and a two-point loss. In our minds, we could easily be 7-1, so we just need a win a win the next couple games and get ourselves in the right direction.”

The Cavs are 1-3 since that 93-92 win over the Wolves last week, and in order to get back on track with a win tonight they’ll need to find a way to slow down the Wolves’ transition game, keep Kevin Love and Kevin Martin from their scoring binges and force guard Ricky Rubio into turnover-prone situations.

Easier said than done, yes, but the Cavs have seen the Wolves once and know the type of transition and pace problems they can present.

“You know [Love] and Corey Brewer have amazing chemistry,” Kyrie Irving said. “Corey Brewer is getting a lot of easy baskets, especially on the full-court pass that K-Love’s been passing since he was at UCLA. I mean, you know, just kind of more of an emphasis on getting back in transition.”

As for Rubio, Irving said the biggest key is trying to make him a scorer—not a facilitator. As for Brown?

“We have a system that we use, and we like to stick with it the best we can,” Brown said. “Ricky I think can score if he wants to. He’s just a conscious playmaker that he doesn’t look to do it all the time.”

Here are a few news/notes for tonight. More to come as we get closer to pregame.

  • The Wolves trail in the all-time series 17-29 and are 9-14 at home. The Cavs won the previous meeting this season, 93-92, at Quickens Loan Arena. The Wolves rallied back from a 23-point third quarter deficit only to see Kevin' Love's potential game-winning three pointer bounce off the rim in the closing seconds.

  • Wolves Notes

  • Kevin Love is the first player to total 210+ points and 120+ rebounds in the first eight games of a season since Moses Malone in 1983-84. He is currently averaging 26.4 points, 15.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists -- only three players (Chamberlain, Abdul-Jabbar, Baylor) have averaged 25/15/5 over a full season.

  • Love has recorded 3+ assists in the last six games -- the longest such streak of his career. He has dished out 5+ assists in five games this season.

  • Corey Brewer leads the league with 56 fast-break points this year. The next closest players are James Harden and Eric Gordon with 46.

  • Kevin Martin has scored 20+ points in seven of the team's eight games, including three games of 30+ points. He scored 20+ points 10 times with OKC in 2012-13, with a high of 28. Martin scored the 10,000th point of his career Monday at the LA Clippers.

  • Martin has scored 23+ points in a career-high-tying six consecutive games -- joining Kevin Love, Al Jefferson, Tony Campbell, Kevin Garnett, and Michael Beasley as the only Wolves to accomplish this feat. Martin is averaging 27.5 ppg and shooting 61.1% (22-for-36) from 3-point range over this stretch.

  • Ricky Rubio has a steal in 29 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NBA. He has at least one steal in 91 of the 106 NBA games he's played.

  • Kevin Love has grabbed an offensive rebound in 83 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NBA. Nikola Pekovic ranks second with 82 consecutive games.

  • The Wolves rank in the Top 10 in scoring (4th, 106.3 ppg), free-throw percentage (4th, .807), rebounds (6th, 45.13 rpg), assists (6th, 24.5 apg) and steals (2nd, 10.13 spg).

  • Cavaliers Notes

  • Cleveland is 3-5 on the season, 0-5 on the road. The Cavs' three wins have been by a total of 7 points. Their five losses have been by an average of 11.2 points.

  • The Cavs rank 5th in steals (9.63 spg) and 9th in blocks (5.50 bpg). They rank 29th in field goal percentage (.407) and 28th in point differential (-6.1 ppg).

  • Kyrie Irving is averaging 23.5 points over the last four games, including 10.0 ppg in the 4th quarter, and 8.3 assists. He has 33 assists to 9 turnovers in this stretch.

  • Tristan Thompson has double-doubles in the last three games (5 total), averaging 15.3 points and 13.0 rebounds over this span.



  • For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter.