MINNEAPOLIS: The Timberwolves shot 55 percent, scored 108 points through three quarters and ran the Cavaliers off the floor during Wednesday’s 124-95 victory. There wasn’t much of anything the Cavs did right in falling to 0-5 on the road, yet coach Mike Brown left Target Center feeling encouraged.
Much like the 15-point loss at the Indiana Pacers earlier this season, when Brown thought it was the best the offense looked despite shooting 35 percent, he walked away from Wednesday’s blowout encouraged by what he heard in the locker room and on the bench during and after the loss.
“I saw some things that make me think that this team has some fight and some character,” Brown said. “I saw some stuff on the court. I saw some stuff on the bench, listening to guys talk, how guys feel. You like some of the things that are being said — some of the things that were said on the bench and some of the things that were done on the bench by most of the guys.”
No one really went into detail of what was said, but Jarrett Jack pulled a small group of players together on the corner of the floor and gave them an animated talk at halftime. Then he did it again in the fourth quarter. It had little impact on the game, but players seemed convinced it was a bit of a turning point. It certainly didn’t show in what was the worst loss since they were hammered by 29 points last March by the Houston Rockets. It was also the most points the Cavs allowed since the Sacramento Kings scored 124 against them last season.
“Everybody loves the winning streaks, but these are the times I actually like the most because you find out who’s who and who’s made of what,” Jack said. “It’s easy to separate when things get difficult. It’s tough to really rally around one another when everyone who was on your bandwagon is probably jumping off. That’s what we have to understand. It’s us 15 guys in this locker room. We’re the only ones who control our own destiny.”
The Cavs were hammered inside and in transition Wednesday and had no answer for either Kevin Love, Corey Brewer or Ricky Rubio on a night the Timberwolves were playing without second-leading scorer Kevin Martin, who missed the game with flulike symptoms.
Love had 33 points, Brewer fell a basket shy of his career high with 27 points and Rubio had 16 points and a career-high 16 assists in a complete dismantling of the Cavs. Their biggest lead of the game was 39 points.
The Timberwolves outrebounded the Cavs 49-37, outscored them in the lane 56-32 and smashed them in transition 29-6.
Brown yanked his starters by the end of the third quarter and cleared his bench for the fourth in a game that was never close.
The Cavs fell behind 70-47 at the half, easily the most points they’ve allowed in a half this season. The previous high was 55 against these same Timberwolves at home nine days ago.
“After a performance like that, you’re concerned,” Brown said, but reiterated he liked what he heard. “You’re getting your behind kicked and you look for guys who are going to keep fighting, fighting together, fighting for one another … on the bench during the game. You hear things and you see people and you think, ‘OK. We may have a chance here.’ ”
Jason Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Cavs blog at http://www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.