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(Friday, December 7th)
Final Score: Minnesota 91, Cleveland 73
Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Kevin Love poured in 36 points and added 13 rebounds as the Minnesota Timberwolves earned a 91-73 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers at Target Center.
"My teammates hit me a with a lot of great passes early on and I was able to get a couple follow-up baskets off offensive rebounds. That's what got me started tonight," Love said.
Luke Ridnour totaled 12 points and seven assists, with J.J. Barea added 10 points for the Timberwolves, who have won four of their last six.
Alonzo Gee posted 16 points and C.J. Miles contributed 13 for the Cavaliers, who skidded to their fourth straight defeat. Anderson Varejao scored only four points in more than 33 minutes, but managed to record a game-best 14 rebounds.
"They played pretty good defense, but right now we just seem to be hesitating on shots that we do have open at times. We're just not playing with a whole lot of confidence right now," Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said.
Donald Sloan's runner pulled the Cavaliers within 69-63 early in the fourth quarter before the T-Wolves used a 16-4 burst to seal the victory.
Barea began the run with a 3-pointer, Alexey Shved hit a jumper, Nikola Pekovic made two from the line, then Barea connected again from long range and Ridnour's easy layup with 3:44 remaining provided an 85-67 margin for the hosts.
Love then completed his night by scoring Minnesota's final six points.
Minnesota led 25-16 after 12 minutes thanks to the early offensive fireworks by their All-Star center.
Omri Casspi's trey early in the second quarter pulled Cleveland within a point before an 8-2 burst put the hosts up 35-28. A Gee triple later knotted the score at 35-35, but Love countered from long range and hit two free throws before Ridnour closed out the half with two baskets for a 44-37 game at halftime.
A Ridnour jumper increased the T-Wolves' margin to 52-40 with four minutes gone in the third quarter, then Love made 3-of-4 from the charity stripe late to make it 66-55 before a Varejao shot closed out the period.
Love shot 10-of-19 from the floor and made 14-of-18 free throws ... Despite the setback, Cleveland has won nine of the last 12 meetings with Minnesota since 2006 ... Sloan had 10 points and five rebounds in defeat ... Andrei Kirilenko recorded eight points, seven boards and three blocks in 30-plus minutes for Minnesota.
12/07 23:42:30 ET