The Cleveland Cavaliers entered the contest versus the Minnesota Timberwolves having won six of their last ten games. The T’Wolves were without their star player Kevin Love. Piece of cake for the hometown wine and gold right? Not if you don’t play defense.
Combine poor defense with over 20 turnovers and the Cavs should be lucky they only lost by eight points. The Cavs did have five blocked shots in the first quarter, but took their foot off the defensive pedal after that. If the Cavaliers are ever going to get back to the playoffs, strong defense must be played for four quarters, not just two or three.
On offense, rookie shooting guard Dion Waiters seemed to be the only one driving to basket. Off the bench, newcomers Wayne Ellington and Marreese Speights added 20 points combined.
Trailing by seven heading in to the fourth quarter, it was the Cavaliers’ second unit that out played the Wolves for the first five minutes of the quarter. They started the fourth period with an 6-0 run to cut the lead down to one. That’s when the T’Wolves savvy veteran guard Luke Ridnour took over.
After six straight points by the sharp shooting Ridnour, the Cavs gave one last push with two minutes left. But, Ridnour hit another three and Timberwolves beat the Cavs at Quicken Loans Arena. Ridnour finished with 21 points and 13 of them came in the all important final quarter.
In the NBA, playing consistent defense is crucial. When a team shoots 80% in the fourth quarter, it becomes very difficult to win basketball games. Your also doing something terribly wrong defensively. It just wasn’t there tonight for the Cavs.
Ryan Ruiz – NBA Writer
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