Dating back to their incredible shorthanded run to the 2015 NBA Finals, the Cavaliers have prided themselves on their next-man-up mentality.
So when they received news that Kevin Love would miss significant time following left knee surgery, the Wine and Gold knew exactly what to do – continuing their red-hot roll towards the All-Star Break and sweeping the season series against the T-Wolves, taking the 116-108 decision on Tuesday night in Minnesota.
Love was having his best season as a Cavalier, had been outstanding of late – doubling-up in eight of his last 10 games – and was headed for his fourth career All-Star Game on Sunday night. But after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to remove a loose body in his left knee on Tuesday morning, it was determined that he’ll be sidelined for the next six weeks.
Getting his second start in place against Love against Minnesota, Channing Frye stepped up and tied a season-high with 21 points and 10 boards, going 7-for-15 from the floor to go with a pair of blocked shots.
In those two starts, Frye’s averaging 19.5 points, 7.0 boards and 2.0 blocks.
The Cavaliers used a similar formula to the one that helped them drop Minnesota at The Q two weeks ago – running up a 69-point first half and turning up the defensive intensity down the stretch – holding the talented young T-Wolves to just 15 points in the fourth quarter.
LeBron James topped double-digit assists for the 20th time this year – finishing with 25 points and a team-high 14 helpers, going 10-for-14 from the floor, including 2-of-3 from long range.
Kyrie Irving added 25 points of his own, going 10-for-27 from the floor to go with seven assists, a steal and blocked shot.
Tristan Thompson grabbed double-digit boards for the fourth time in his last five games – notching his 16th double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 boards, going 6-of-7 from the floor in the win.
Cleveland got another big boost off the bench from Derrick Williams, who inked a 10-day deal last week and has impressed in every appearance as a Cavalier – finishing with 13 points in 22 minutes, finishing 5-of-7 from the floor to go with six boards.
In his three games with the Wine and Gold, Williams is averaging 10.7 points per while shooting 77 percent – 10-of-13 – from the floor.
Andrew Wiggins continued to torment the team that originally drafted him – leading everyone with 41 points on 16-for-29 shooting, including 4-of-8 from long-range. To the Cavaliers’ credit, they held the high-flying forward to just four points in the final period.
Karl-Anthony Towns finished with 26 points but just eight boards and Rick Rubio led both squads with 16 assists.
Click here to read more of this story.