By Joseph Fafinski
Losing six in a row is embarrassing. Losing a 20-point lead with 12 minutes left is embarrassing. Not having a home victory in three weeks is embarrassing. The Minnesota Timberwolves were doomed for failure once more as the Cavs came into town, right?
You would think that getting embarrassed at home by a certain He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named-In-Cleveland, the Cavaliers had hit rock bottom. You would have thought that it couldn’t get any worse for America’s most upset team at the moment.
Swish, the ball went through the net to give the Wolves a 5-0 lead only 53 seconds into the first quarter. Wes Johnson was given a high five by teammate Kevin Love. It seemed at the time like an ordinary jumper but it was the first of a club-record 18 three-pointers hit by the home team, and the first of three by Johnson. Love himself would go five for five from three point land.
The Wolves never looked back and delivered an absolute thrashing at the hands of Love and Johnson, 125-95. In a game where the Wolves refused to miss from outside, Cleveland’s defense went sour outside. The Wolves missed only eight treys and ended up shooting nearly 70 percent, compared to the Cavs shooting only a mere 23 percent.
Love and Johnson were not the only ones who contributed, however. Wayne Ellington, Corey Brewer and Darko Milicic (who also had nine rebounds) pitched in 16, 15, and 14 apiece for the winners of tonight’s contest.
Recent criticism surrounding the Wolves and their ability to finish contests has been harsh. Kevin Love has taken this criticism seriously, and the team rebounded to it. After blowing a 20-point lead the night before in San Antonio, Love was quoted by Star Tribune columnist Jerry Zgoda as saying “we have to pick our heads up, stop feeling sorry for ourselves and just go play like we’re in the park, our five against their five, nobody in the stands, no coaches.”
Keeping his word, Love delivered and led a quick delivery and a hard blow to the Cleveland Cavaliers organization. As if a loss to LBJ and the rest of the Heat wave wasn’t bad enough, a 34-point loss at Minnesota hurts this struggling franchise.
The Wolves, on the other hand, leave town on a positive note, upbeat and ready to play a Knicks team they know all too well. Facing NYC’s finest at home in early November, Kevin Love went off for a historic 31-point, 31-rebound performance that was the first 30-30 since Hall of Famer Moses Malone did it in 1982. When asked about a repeat performance, Love shook it off and noted that “[he’s] good with a double-double and a win.” He accomplished both those feats opposite Cleveland; can he bring it to the Big Apple?