A night after a win suggested the Timberwolves’ were turning the corner with a win over Cleveland, Minnesota again met the Cavaliers, this time in Ohio.
And this time, Cleveland was without two of its key frontcourt pieces — as Andre Drummond and Larry Nance Jr. missed the game with injuries.
The stage was set for Minnesota to win a second game in as many nights and start to generate some real momentum as its roster was on the precipice of becoming whole again.
Instead, Cleveland’s Big 3 of Jarrett Allen, Collin Sexton and Darius Garland thoroughly out-played the trio of Malik Beasley, D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards, one night after that Wolves’ trio carried Minnesota to victory with its play on the offensive end.
Allen, Sexton and Garland combined for 68 points in Cleveland’s 100-98 victory Monday. Allen also grabbed 18 rebounds. Russell, Edwards and Beasley went for just 41 points on 17 for 45 shooting. Beasley continues to be a far superior player at Target Center than he is on the road, and Monday marked another game where the Wolves didn’t get enough out of Russell, their max player.
As a team, Minnesota shot just 39 percent from the field, and 29 percent from deep. Minnesota was out-rebounded 52-45, and tallied just 20 assists on 40 makes.
The Wolves (5-15) made a push late, as Russell made a couple triples late and Malik Beasley’s late putback cut Cleveland’s lead to 98-96 with just six seconds to play. But Cleveland’s Taurean Prince knocked down a pair of free-throws with four seconds to play to put the game on ice for the Cavaliers (10-11).
Naz Reid returned to action after missing a pair of games with a wrist injury. Reid scored 12 points in 13 minutes, including the final bucket of the game with less than a second to play.