For every free throw Andrew Wiggins took on Thursday night, three times the tweets were sent out about a potential Kevin Love deal with him at the center. Throughout much of the first half of their game against the Houston Rockets, the announcers talked about a potential deal, and Jon Krawczynski, an AP reporter based in Minneapolis, even came on air to add some context. He noted that while the Wolves have not yet received an offer for Love that includes Wiggins, they are expecting to receive one soon.
The chatter about a Love-Wiggins trade continued as the game did, quickly and slightly out of control. On Twitter, opinions spouted off one after another in rapid succession. In the game, the Cavaliers offense lacked the fluidity it had featured in their first three Summer League games. The result was Will Cherry attacking the rim and dominating the ball for stretches. This was partly due to the absence of point guard Matthew Dellavedova, who left the team to help Australia prepare for the upcoming FIBA World Cup. Not surprisingly, the Cavs won those three games.
Tonight, the Cavaliers lost by a final score of 96-90. Wiggins and Cherry co-led the Cavaliers with 21 points apiece. Anthony Bennett, with his name circulating the rumor mill as well, added 11 for Cleveland. Houston's Isaiah Canann led all players with 28 points. Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, GM David Griffin, and star point guard Kyrie Irving all watched the game courtside. Dion Waiters, another potential trade chip, was also in attendance.
Cleveland ultimately lost this game when they fell behind by ten after the third quarter. They were able to make a comeback in the fourth behind Cherry, but in the end, as it had all day, it came down to Wiggins.
And while Wiggins had an excellent performance overall (21 points, 3-5 shooting, 15-20 from the line, five rebounds and one outstanding chase down bock), two miscues late ended any realistic comeback hopes for the Cavs. First, with the Cavs on defense, Wiggins was matched up with Canann, a much smaller player, and was beaten off the dribble. Canaan scored and put the Rockets up by five with 17 seconds to play.
On the ensuing possession, Wiggins took the ball at the top of the key and tried to split a double team on him at the top of the key. As he took his step towards the middle, Wiggins had the ball stripped out of his hands. The Rockets immediately took possession and scored on the other end, sealing their victory.
The loss eliminates the Cavs from the tournament that wraps up Summer League in Las Vegas. They will, however, play a game tomorrow in the losers bracket against a team yet to be determined.