Wolves Wrap: Wiggins, Wolves fall short to LeBron and Cavs


156. Final. 90. 86. 106

The Wolves had a shot to win, Kevin Love didn’t play well, and Andrew Wiggins was great. And that’s about all that Wolves fans could hope for tonight.

Wiggins drained the first basket for the Wolves on a three, and Love grabbed a rebound and scored Cleveland’s first bucket. The Cavaliers grabbed a 30-21 lead by the end of the third quarter before the Wolves pulled withing three points at halftime.

Minnesota managed to pull ahead by three points at the end of the third quarter on the heels of a strong stretch of play from Wiggins and Thaddeus Young, but things began to fall apart about three minutes into the final frame when Wiggins headed to the bench for a rest.

The Cavs started to get going, and then LeBron James took over. Even when Wiggins returned, James couldn’t be stopped. He made threes, mid-range jumpers, and drove into the lane for easy baskets and fouls that sent him to the line.

The game was closer than the final score of 106-90 might indicate. Cleveland clamped down in the fourth quarter, outscoring the home team 30-11, but an 13-4 run between the 9:22 and 2:28 marks in the quarter by James himself sealed the Wolves’ fate. That’s right — LeBron scored 13 straight points for the Cavs.

Andrew Wiggins played extremely well, scoring 23 points in the first half and providing solid defense on LeBron James until the fourth quarter, which happened to be when The King decided to be serious about things and go to work.

But Wiggins cleared 30 points on 18 shots, and ultimately put up a career-high 33 points on 25 shots as he struggled down the stretch while forcing a few attempts out of desperation. He scored in a variety of different ways, making his first three three-point attempts, shot-faking and stepping-through on LeBron in the post, and making a variety of floaters and layups in the lane.

Love struggled from the field (6-14, 1-5 on threes), but pulled down a few difficult offensive rebounds and converted some very familiar put-backs, bailing out his teammates at opportune times. He finished with 14 points on 14 shots and grabbed 17 rebounds. He was booed during pre-game introductions and when he touched the ball early, but after a video board tribute at the first television timeout, it seemed as though the crowd’s animosity waned quite a bit.

Star of the Game

LeBron James (36 points on 14 of 25 shooting, 5 of 8 free throws, 3 of 8 three-pointers, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, one block, 2 turnovers)

James started the game awkwardly, losing the ball a few times on offense and almost appearing to try too hard to take it to the number-one overall pick. But late in the game, he couldn’t be stopped, scoring 13 straight points for Cleveland and keeping Wiggins from causing any damage on the other end of the floor.

Tweet of the Game

Stat of the Night

Forty-eight minutes. Lorenzo Brown officially played all 48 minutes in tonight’s game, as both Zach LaVine and Mo Williams sat the contest out with injuries.

Brown shot 0 of 5 from the field and only scored one point, but dished out nine assists and pulled down six rebounds while doing a good job initiating the Wolves’ offense and more importantly, bothering Kyrie Irving into a 4 for 16 shooting performance. The Cavs’ star point guard scored just 12 points and only had four assists while turning the ball over three times. An impressive performance for a ten-day contract guy, to be sure.

Notable Lines:

  • Andrew Wiggins: 33 points (14-25 FG, 3-4 3PT, 2-3 FT), one rebound, one assist, 4 steals, one turnover
  • Kevin Martin: 14 points (6-19 FG, 1-4 3PT, 1-2 FT), one assist, 6 rebounds, one assist, 2 turnovers
  • Thaddeus Young: 19 points (9-13 FG, 1-1 3PT), 3 rebounds, one assist, one turnover
  • Nikola Pekovic: 14 points (4-11 FG, 6-6 FT), 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 turnovers

Who’s Got Next?

The Wolves will be in Dallas on Monday night to play the Mavericks. Rumor has it that one Ricky Rubio will be making his long-awaited return, so we have that to look forward to at least.

Keep it tuned to DWW this weekend, and we’ll all look forward to watching Rubio’s return on Monday night.

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