Post-mortem: Cavs 109, Minnesota 94
It was nothing fancy and offered little in the way of excitement. Given recent Cavs games, that may not have been a bad thing.
The Cavs were almost surgical and their dismantling of the Minnesota Timberwolves at Quicken Loans Arena Wednesday night. The game was interesting for about a quarter. After that, the Cavs clamped down, holding the T-wolves to 39 percent shooting on the night. They outrebounded Minnesota 42-35 and scorched them offensively, shooting 55 percent to their 40 percent.
What those who attended the game and watched on TV did see was the potential of J.J. Hickson who has a nice night with 23 points and eight rebounds. Hickson led all scorers and was a dominant presence through the three quarters he played. You get that out of him on a semi-consistent basis heading into the playoff run and the Cavs will be an extremely dangerous team.
For a change, the team didn't have to overly rely LeBron James who only scored 12 points but dished 11 assists. Don't think James and some of the other starters didn't appreciate it. He, O'Neal and Hickson all got the fourth quarter off.
Game: Cavs (36-11) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (9-38)
TV: FSOhio Radio: WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM)
Cavs: LeBron James (F); J.J. Hickson(F); Shaquille O'Neal (C); Anthony Parker (G); Mo Williams (G).
Minnesota Timberwolves: Ryan Gomes (F); Damien Wilkins (F); Al Jefferson (C); Corey Brewer (G); Johnny Flynn (G).
Cavs: Delonte West (finger), Mo Williams (left shoulder strain) and Leon Powe (left knee surgery) - OUT
Officials: Derrick Stafford, Tony Brown, Sean Corbin.
By all accounts this is a game that should be easy pickin' for the Cavaliers; then you remember that some of their losses have come against sub-.500 teams. But these are the Timberwolves, a team that hasn't won on the road since Dec. 23 and were blown out by the New York Knicks in their most recent outing.
The Cavs have won eight consecutive against the Timberwolves and despite the fact that they are playing without Mo Williams and Delonte West, they're playing solid hoops. LeBron James has elevated his game (as if that were possible) and is averaging a freakish 35 points per game in the month of January.
With the second half of the season here and those two injuries, Shaquille O'Neal is taking a more active role in the offense, averaging 17.5 points over the last four games.