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Pregame: T'Wolves (18-29) at Cavs (16-35)

By Jason Lloyd Published: February 11, 2013
Rubio, Ricky
Ricky Rubio has dealt with his share of injuries this season, but is now one of the few healthy players for the Timberwolves. (AP Photo/Genevieve Ross)


Time: 7 p.m.; Place: The Q; TV/Radio: FS Ohio/WTAM, WLEC, WAKR

Injury report: CavsAnderson Varejao (knee, lung) out; Timberwolves: J.J. Barea (foot) questionable; Chase Budinger (knee) out; Andrei Kirilenko (quad) out; Malcolm Lee (knee) out; Kevin Love (hand) out; Brandon Roy (knee) out.

Officials: Monty McCutchen, Nick Buchert, Mark Lindsay

Series: Timberwolves lead 1-0


Cavs probables

Name Ht, Wt Pts Rebs Asts
PG Kyrie Irving 6-3, 191 24.0 3.7 5.5
SG Dion Waiters 6-4, 221 14.1 2.5 3.2
SF Alonzo Gee 6-6, 219 10.4 3.9 1.9
PF Tristan Thompson 6-9, 227 11.4 9.1 1.3
C Tyler Zeller 7-0, 250 8.0 6.1 1.4



Timberwolves probables

Name Ht, Wt Pts Rebs Asts
PG Ricky Rubio 6-4, 194 7.1 2.2 6.2
SG Luke Ridnour 6-2, 173 12.0 2.8 3.9
SF Mickael Gelabale 6-10, 225 6.6 2.8 0.5
PF Derrick Williams 6-8, 243 9.5 4.7 0.4
C Nikola Pekovic 6-11, 281 15.8 8.7 0.9


* Boy, that Golden State game sure did humble this team. Ever since the Cavs were pounded by an injury-ravaged Warriors team a couple of weeks ago, these guys are fearful of another wounded team coming in and beating them. C.J. Miles referenced that game again this morning when talking about the Timberwolves, who could fill up a wing at the Cleveland Clinic these days.

* Nearly half of the Timberwolves' active roster right now is hurt. It's so bad, Mickael Gelabale is their starting small forward. Gelabale hasn't played in the NBA since 2008, bouncing around the D-League, the Euroleague, Moscow and Belgium for the last five years. I'm sure he's a nice fella, but he's not Andrei Kirilenko. 

* Kevin Love has a broken hand, Brandon Roy's knees are shot again and Kirirlenko is hurting. That means the Timberwolves dug up Derrick Williams after burying him deep on the bench early in the season.

* As for the Cavs, they still can't defend. Coach Byron Scott said this morning on a scale of 1-10, he places his defensive concerns around a 6. "I am concerned about it, but I know we’re going to continue to work on it, we’re going to get better," Scott said. "We have to make sure our guys get a little more defensive-minded as well. When you have a lot of young guys, the one thing they think sometimes is you can just outscore people. Some nights that works and some nights it doesn’t. We can’t rely on that."

* Scott said the biggest problem with the defense right now is the absence of Anderson Varejao. That sounds good in theory, but the Cavs' defense was awful even when he was playing. But Scott thinks these guys are starting to figure things out, so injecting Varejao into this team now would make a significant difference. "We would be 10 times better defensively because that's what he brings," Scott said. "It's not an excuse, just a fact that he is our best defensive big man on the post and in pick and roll. That's where we're getting killed right now."

* Varejao's absence has meant a heavy work load for rookie Tyler Zeller, who is fading and appears to be in desperate need of the All-Star break. Zeller has failed to reach double figures in 8 of the last 9 games. He has taken only three shots in the last two games combined and didn't get even one up in Friday's win over the Magic. 

* When asked last week if his rookies had hit the wall, Scott joked that they were leaning against it. "Most rookies have to go through this," Scott said this morning. "All the things he's going through are going to make him a better basketball player. Period. I truly believe that. He's having a tough go of it right now, but I know him as a person. Tyler is taking this very personal, but it’s going to make him stronger. And he’s going to be much better next year, guarantee you."



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