Collin Sexton and Darius Garland scored 18 points each as the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers continued their recent run of improved play with a 94-88 victory Saturday over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
In a game that was missing much of its star power, Kevin Love did not start for the Cavaliers because of hip and back soreness. The Timberwolves were without Karl-Anthony Towns for a sixth consecutive game because of a sprained left knee and also were without Andrew Wiggins because of the flu.
Without Love, the Cavaliers struggled from 3-point range, shooting 4 of 20 as a team. Cleveland instead dominated the rebounding battle, registering a 61-39 advantage, Tristan Thompson grabbed 15 boards while scoring 12 points. Kevin Porter Jr. had 10 points.
Jeff Teague scored 18 points,while Kelan Martin added 17 for the Timberwolves, who were missing an average of more than 50 points per game without Towns and Wiggins. Minnesota lost for the 12th time in their last 13 games after ending an 11-game losing streak Thursday.
The Cavaliers shot 50 percent from the field (19 of 38) in the first half while taking a 49-43 lead. Cleveland trailed just once in the first half at 2-0 to open the game.
The Timberwolves put together a 9-0 run in the fourth quarter to take their first lead since the opening minutes at 78-77, on Shabazz Napier's jumper.
The advantage was short-lived, however, and the Cavaliers held on the rest of the way. Cleveland was able to hold off the Timberwolves in the second half despite never leading by more than nine points.
Robert Covington scored 14 points for the Timberwolves, who saw their home losing streak extend to nine games, the longest home losing streak in the NBA this season. The Timberwolves last won at Minneapolis on Nov. 13 against the San Antonio Spurs.
The Cavaliers have won four of five after a recent eight-game losing streak and a run where they fell 10 times in a stretch of 11 games. The Cavaliers have earned half of their 10 victories this season since Dec. 12.
--Field Level Media