The Cavaliers head to Minnesota on the second game of their road trip after a win against the Magic. The Cavaliers allowed Orlando back into the game on Saturday, but put together yet another strong offensive performance with Isaiah Thomas back in the lineup. We’ll see how the Cavs do against a tougher test in Minny.
When: 8 p.m. ET
Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Enemy Blog: Canus Hoopus
TV: Fox Sports Ohio
Online: Fox Sports Go, NBA League Pass
Cavs injuries: Derrick Rose (OUT - ankle), Iman Shumpert (OUT - left knee)
Timberwolves injuries: Jeff Teague (OUT - knee)
Three keys to the game:
- Minnesota is one of the more talented teams in the league, but they likely won’t do much damage at the point guard position against Isaiah Thomas on offense. Jeff Teague is hurt, and while Tyus Jones is a solid backup, he’s not striking fear into the heart of a defense. Meanwhile, backup Aaron Brooks is barely an NBA player at this point. Advantage, Cavs.
- Tom Thibodeau definitely hasn’t changed his ways. He’s playing his starters insane minutes, which, while not the best long-term strategy, certainly helps win games. That means Cavs bench lineups will have to go long stretches against lineups that feature four or five starters - will they be able to hold their ground?
- Andrew Wiggins tends to have big games against the Cavaliers - probably because they traded him for Kevin Love. Wiggins is suffering through a pretty terrible season. If his game is on point and his jumper is falling, the Timberwolves are at a different level offensively.
Karl-Anthony Towns should be a nightmare matchup for Kevin Love, but his defensive focus is often a nightmare for Thibodeau. If the Cavs use Love actively off-ball and make Towns track him through screens, there should be a litany of easy buckets. That’s important, because Towns is very likely to get his against a porous Cavs defense. We’ll see who wins that crucial battle.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction
The Cavs need to find rhythm, but they don’t here. Timberwolves win 119-116.