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Gameblog: Cavs at Minnesota Timberwolves

By George Thomas Published: December 17, 2008

Post mortem:
So I'm sitting between Mary Schmitt-Boyer of the PD and Bob Finnan of the News-Herald and we all in near unison declare tonight's game the most boring we'd seen in a while.  For me, that's not as many as those two, but it's still a significant number.  It remained that way until 1:20 of the third quarter when LeBron James awakened his teammates and the Target Center crowd with a thunderous dunk. From there it was all downhil for the fans as the Cavs poured it on. 
The key to the win:  first there was James' 14 points. But secondly, the Cavs played in the manner that made them 20-4 coming into the night's game.  The yshot 63 percent from the field in the fourth quarter, while holding the Timberwolves to a mere 29 percent in the same category.  They outscored the T-wolves 30-14 in the quarter.  Outrebounded them 12-8 and beat them in the paint and on the fastbreak.  James impressed the Minneapolis crowd so much they gave him a standing ovation.  Delonte West added 21 points to give James a hand.  Hitting 9-of-16 shots and agressively moving to the hoop. Quotable: From the coach's office:
Mike Brown on the game Delonte West had:

I thought Delonte was great attacking the basket. He didn’t settle for threes.  He had lanes, those guys closed out to him hard.  He was really patient about what he did on the offensive end of the floor
LeBron James on the fans' reaction to his performance:
You can never be prepared for that on the road. They have great fans here.  I appreciate it.
At the half:
Most of you are probably wondering why the Cavs are allowing the Timberwolves to even hang out in this game.  I'm wondering the same thing.  The Cavs continue to shoot the ball at a nice clip - 51 percent while holding the Timberwolves to just 41 percent from the field.  Some of the T-Wolves' shots have come too easily with 18 points in the paint.  THe Cavaliers aren't forcing the issue on the boards in many of those instances. If there's anything you immediately notice it's that as of right now, Wally Szczerbiak is out of his slump, hitting 4-of-6, including 2-of-3 from the 3-point arc.  Other than that, this first half played out in a bland kind of way. Game: Cavs (20-4) at Minnesota Timberwolves (4-20)
Broadcast:  TV: FSOhio WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM)
Starters: Cavs:  LeBron James (F); Ben Wallace (F); Anderson Varejao (C); Delonte West (G); Mo Williams (G).  Timberwolves:
Inactive/injuries: Cavs:  Eric Snow, Zydrunas Ilguaskas and Daniel Gibson are out.  Timberwolves:  Corey Brewer, Mark Madsen, Calvin Booth.
Officials:  Joe Crawford, David Jones and Mark Ayotte.
Streaking:  The Cavs look to begin a win streak anew having dropped their last game against the Atlanta Hawks.  The Timberwolves would seem to be the team to help them as they've lost 10 games in a row.
Three things to watch:
  • Say what you will, but the Timberwolves could actually be a dangerous team.  Not because they're particularly good, but because they have little to lose in beating a team like the Cavs, who are arguably one of the top three teams in the league.  The Cavaliers will have to avoid a letdown.
  • LeBron James and the starters gto a healthy workout against the Hawks, look for them to want to punch in, punch the Timberwolves and punch out giving themselves and easy night of work.  Yes, James is only 23, but it's a long, long season.
  • They will have to continue doing this all while playing without Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Daniel Gibson who are both still out.  That's not necessarily a bad thing because it gives the bench more playing time (read: time to develop) against an opponent that shouldn't pose much of a threat.
Quotable:
From the coach's office:
Mike Brown on the job Mo Williams has done the past few games to make up for the loss of Daniel Gibson and Zydrunas Ilgauskas:
I don’t even look at him as stepping up.  To me that’s Mo Williams. Mo Williams is a gamer and he’s going to make big plays not only for himself, but for the rest of his team.  He did it against us his whole career in Milwaukee.
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