You would think that without Kevin Martin, who at the last-minute was taken off the bench because of the flu, the Minnesota Timberwolves would be struggling. Martin is their second-leading scorer and top threat from 3-point range, the Wolves’ offense would need time to adjust.
But as the 14,978 at Target Center and the Cleveland Cavaliers found out, Minnesota didn’t need any adjustment period. The Wolves had an easy victory 124-95.
The Wolves were shooting 64.5 percent from the field heading into the fourth — and all five starters had scored in double figures by then.
Rubio has continues to be a driving force for the Wolves. He pulled in 16 points and scored a career-high 16 assists, which is two more than his previous best. On top of that he added six rebounds and three steals while playing less than 31 minutes.
He had 10 points, eight assists and a steal in his league-high 30th consecutive game all before the end of the first quarter.
Kevin Love had 33 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists by the end of the night led the NBA with 81 field goals.
But they player who has taken everyone by surprise for the night was Corey Brewer. He moved from small forward to shooting guard. Brewer hit 10 of 17 shots, including 5 of 5 from three-point range, to score 27 points — within two of his career high.
“Kevin wasn’t there, so I had an opportunity to take my shots,” Brewer said.
Brewer hit a three-pointer and that gave the Wolves a 7-5 lead that they built on for the rest of the night. This one was decided by halftime as the Wolves seized a 70-47 lead, and refused to let up.
They scored 38 points in the third quarter and led 108-76, and with that tremendous lead Adelman sent in the reserves.
Minnesota’s top eight players hit 43 of 68 shots and 10 of 16 three-point shots.
“It was a terrific game for our guys,” Adelman said. “They came out from the start, but they carried it through. For the first three quarters especially we just moved the ball so well. We were good at both ends of the court and had a lot of energy.”
34 assists and only nine turnovers were the keys to this victory.
“That’s huge,” he said.
And that is small compared to the rest of the game. The Wolves had 22 points off fast breaks while the Cavaliers had none, in the end Minnesota finished with a 29-6, outscored Cleveland 56-32 in the paint and led by as many as 39 points.
“They beat us in transition; they beat us in the half court,” Cavs Coach Mike Brown said. “They cut harder, they played harder, they were more physical.”
The Wolves play the Denver Nuggets, at 7:00 p.m. Friday. Watch on FSN or listen on WCCO-AM 830.