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CLEVELAND: The Cavs’ defense crumbled in the second half and an injury-ravaged team walked into Quicken Loans Arena and embarrassed the Cavs for the second time in as many weeks.
Luke Ridnour scored 13 points in the fourth quarter and the Cavs lost to the hapless Minnesota Timberwolves 100-92 on Monday. It was just the Timberwolves’ third win in their last 18 games and it ended an eight-game road losing streak.
Cavs players have spent the past few days recalling the bad loss to the Golden State Warriors two weeks ago when the Warriors were without most of their top players. It happened again Monday when the Timberwolves entered without six regulars, including leading scorer Kevin Love.
It didn’t really matter against a Cavs team disinterested in defending. They entered with the league’s worst defensive shooting percentage, and that figure will only increase after the Timberwolves shot 52 percent.
They shot 64 percent in the second half and made 10 of their first 11 shots to open the fourth quarter.
Yet the Cavs were still within 92-89 in the game’s final two minutes. Ridnour made a 3-pointer and Ricky Rubio followed a Cavs miss with a jump shot to seal the rare victory.
Kyrie Irving had 20 points and seven assists and hobbled to the locker room in the final minute of the first half after turning his ankle on Alexy Shved’s foot following a shot. Irving returned for the second half, but made just 1 of 5 shots in the fourth quarter, turned it over once and did not have an assist. Tristan Thompson had 16 points and nine rebounds and Dion Waiters made all six of his shots to finish with 12 points.
Ridnour finished with 21 for the Timberwolves, while Nikola Pekovic had 16 points and 10 rebounds while holding Tyler Zeller scoreless.