Dribbles: Cavs Light Can’t Hang With Hungry Wolves This Time

Random dribbles following the Cavaliers’ 104-91 road loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday.Timberwolves' Anthony Edwards drives against the Cavaliers

1. The Cavs kept hanging around … then hanging around some more … then Minnesota went on a tear. That pretty much was the story of this one.

2. Sometimes, being so shorthanded is going to catch up with you, especially against a good team in their gym. I suspect that’s basically what this was. The Cavs were just overmatched.

3. No crime in that and not a whole lot they can do about it. Without Donovan Mitchell, Evan Mobley, Max Strus and Dean Wade, you’re simply going to have nights like this.

4. It’s true that the Timberwolves remain without injured All-Star big man Karl-Anthony Towns, who was also out for the Cavs’ win last week in OT. But that’s one starter. Cleveland is missing three and a top reserve.

5. I know, enough already with the excuses. But I’m just trying to add a little perspective here. At no point did I think the Cavs had a chance. The fact they led at halftime (49-46) was a surprise in and of itself.

6. The third quarter is when it all fell apart, and it wasn’t necessarily the Cavs’ fault. The Timberwolves were just that good. The Cavs — especially Isaac Okoro — again did a nice job on Wolves star Anthony Edwards, holding him to 16 points. But veteran guard Mike Conley (21 points) made up for it. Also, big man Naz Reid (18) has killed the Cavs in both meetings.

7. Darius Garland led Cleveland with 19 points, but finished just 8-of-21 shooting, including 0-of-6 on 3-pointers. Caris LeVert added 16 points and six assists, and Jarrett Allen had 15 with 13 rebounds. Without three starters, the Cavs (43-27) are just laboring on offense. But again, imagine that.

8. Coach J.B. Bickerstaff to reporters: “We just struggled in that third quarter to score, struggled to create enough field-goal attempts. We didn’t give ourselves a chance offensively to get on the board.”

9. Marcus Morris came off the bench to score 11 and is averaging 9.7 points in his first three games with Cleveland. Sam Merrill and Georges Niang scored 10 apiece. That said, the Cavs aren’t going to win many games with only one guy surpassing 16 points (and that one guy didn’t hit 20).

10. Allen left briefly with a hand laceration and didn’t start the second half. He eventually made his way back to the game with tape/wrap on the injury.

11. Allen told Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com that he injured his hand on the rim/backboard while blocking a shot. The injury was glued shut so that Allen could return, Fedor reported.

12. Frankly, I can think of better ways to spend a Friday night.

13. Tristan Thompson finished with five points and seven rebounds in 15 minutes.  Thompson and Morris could be even more valuable once the Cavs get Mobley and Wade back. 

14. Thompson echoed the sentiments about the offense. “We did enough defensively to win, we just didn’t make enough shots,” he said. “That’s how the NBA works. Some nights you’re going to make shots and some nights you’re not.”

15. On this night, the Cavaliers did not. And there really isn’t much more to say. Next up: A rematch with the Heat in Miami on Sunday.

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