Cavaliers edge Timberwolves, 100-98
There was no comeback this time. At least not one that lasted.
The Timberwolves rallied from 10 down early in the fourth quarter to take the lead over Cleveland at Rocket Mortgage Field house Monday.
But the Cavaliers responded with an 11-2 run, taking control for good in a 100-98 victory.
That evened the two-day, back-to-back series with the Cavs at a game each after the Wolves rallied for a victory in Minneapolis Sunday.
The Cavaliers (10-11) were playing without center Andrew Drummond (back) and Larry Nance, Jr. (wrist).
But Jarrett Allen, inserted into the starting lineup at center, responded with a game-changing performance. He had 23 points, 18 rebounds and five of Cleveland's 12 blocked shots.
He and the backcourt of Collin Sexton (26) and Darius Garland (19) were too much for a Wolves starting lineup that struggled.
After combining to hit 10 of the Wolves' 16 three-pointers in Sunday's victory, D'Angelo Russell and Malik Beasley were a combined 12-for-32, making just three of 14 three-pointers.
Russell finished with 18 points. Anthony Edwards had 13. Jaylen Nowell scored 12 off the bench.
The Wolves were down 10 early in the fourth quarter when Lamar Stevens hit one of two free throws just 12 seconds into the fourth quarter.
But then Naz Reid had two three-pointers, both from the left corner, in a 9-0 run that brought them within 77-76 on Reid's three with 9:11 left.
Out of a time out, Nowell scored with 8:25 left to give the Wolves their first lead of the second half, 78-77.
It didn't last as Cleveland answered with an 11-2 run. Sexton scored, then Reid missed a three. Allen was fouled and made both free throws. Then Allen picked up his fifth block on Nowell, and Garland scored at the other end, putting Cleveland up 83-78. Out of a time out Reid missed, and Allen hit an alley-oop dunk. Sexton hit a three-pointer and Cleveland was back up eight.
Two late threes by Russell brought the Wolves within four. They got the ball back and Beasley scored with 6.1 seconds left to make it 98-96. Taurean Prince hit two free throws with 3.9 seconds left to ice the game.
The Cavaliers didn't seem to be missing Drummond too much to start the game, with Allen dropped into the starting lineup. He had nine points, five rebounds and a block in the first quarter, which ended with score tied at 29
Down 6-2 early, Garland had seven points in an 11-0 run that put Cleveland up 13-6 on Sexton's layup midway through the quarter. That lead was pushed to eight on Allen's dunk with 4:40 left in the quarter.
But the Timberwolves, led by their bench, finished the quarter on a 15-7 run to tie the game on McDaniels' corner three in the final minute. McDaniels had seven points in that run, with Edwards converting a three-point play and Jake Layman hitting a three-pointer.
Both teams struggled offensively in the second half, with the Cavs going 6-for-21, the Wolves 6-25. The difference: Cleveland had a 9-2 edge in free throws in the second quarter, which ended with Cleveland up 52-44.
The Wolves were within three when Reid scored with 6:11 left. But the Wolves scored just six more points in the half, making just two of their final 12 points of the half. The Wolves were still down nine entering the fourth.