MINNEAPOLIS: As long as Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters are both sidelined, the Cavaliers have to count on Anderson Varejao more than they should to provide production at both ends of the floor.
On nights like Friday, when Varejao is struggling with his shot, the Cavs’ chances of winning are nil.
The Cavaliers lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves 91 -73because they had no one who could tap Kevin Love’s brakes and Varejao struggled with his shot most of the night.
Varejao had four points and 14 rebounds, ending his streak of consecutive double-doubles at 10 games – one shy of the franchise record. The thought entering the night was Varejao and Love would perhaps neutralize each other, but that was hardly true.
Love had 36 points, the most by a Cavs opponent this season, and 13 rebounds. He scored eight points in the game’s first four minutes, prompting Cavs coach Byron Scott to call a timeout so Tristan Thompson could grab a tourniquet. Love was 14 of 18 from the free-throw line, while the Cavs went 6 of 9 as a team from the line.
Varejao was sensational during his streak, finishing all 10 games with at least 15 rebounds and five offensive rebounds. That hadn’t been done since Moses Malone had a streak of 12 consecutive games during the 1978-79 season. But Varejao shot just 2 of 10 and blew plenty of open looks around the basket, although the Timberwolves used Love on him extensively on defense and it seemed to affect Varejao.
With their best healthy player ineffective, the Cavs had little chance of keeping pace. They shot just 35 percent and haven’t shot better than 37 percent in the three games Waiters has missed. The 73 points is a season-low and the fewest the Timberwolves have allowed this season.
Alonzo Gee had 16 points, primarily on dunks, and C.J. Miles had 13 off the bench. The Cavs’ reserves outscored the starters, 37-36.