Cavs Hold Off Late-Charging Timberwolves

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CLEVELAND -- The Minnesota Timberwolves crafted the perfect scenario.

After cutting a 23-point deficit to one in the closing seconds, they got the ball in the hands of All-Star forward Kevin Love.

Love, who came into the game leading the league in scoring and second in rebounding, missed a 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds left, and the CLEVELAND Cavaliers escaped with a 93-92 victory Monday before 17,892 at Quicken Loans Arena.

"More often than not, I believe I'm going to make that shot," Love said. "J.J. (Barea) made a good pass, and I was in good rhythm, but I just hit the back of the rim."

Love, selected the Western Conference Player of the Week earlier in the day, was held in check with 17 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. He finished 8-for-20 from the field, 0-for-7 from behind the 3-point arc.

"We needed a stop to win it," Cavs coach Mike Brown said. "Kevin Love is a great shooter. He took a contested 3. Hopefully, we can build on that. We still have to figure out how to close games the right way."

Guard C.J. Miles had 19 points and five rebounds, helping CLEVELAND (2-2) hand Minnesota (3-1) its first loss of the season. He connected on eight of 13 shots from the field and three of five from the 3-point range.

"He has been making some big defensive plays for us," Brown said. "He had (two blocks) and a couple of steals. I applaud the way he's been playing. He's been playing good basketball for us on both ends."

Point guard Kyrie Irving added 15 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two blocks as the Cavs snapped a two-game losing streak. He turned the ball over nine times.

The Cavs blew four leads of 20 or more points last year. They didn't want it to happen again.

"There were times from watching the tape this summer, that would have been a loss -- possibly -- and maybe by double digits," Brown said. "We just kept scrapping and scrapping."

Twice in the last 56 seconds, Irving missed shots in the lane. Brown wanted to set a screen for him, but he waved it off both teams.

"No disrespect, but I don't need a screen at the top of the key against J.J. Barea," Irving said.

Forward Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao each had 12 points for the Cavs. Center Andrew Bynum added 10 points, four rebounds and three blocks in 18 minutes. He went 6-for-6 from the foul line and added a 14-foot jumper as part of a 2-for-6 shooting night from the floor.

"I have a good touch and I can shoot the ball," Bynum said. "I just haven't been in a system where that was required."

Brown was given the OK by the training staff to increase Bynum's minutes and to allow him to play in each half. Brown was quick to comply.

"He's a skilled big guy," he said. "He can pass it and shoot it. He can post up."

Free agent acquisition Kevin Martin led all scorers with 23 points for the Timberwolves, though the shooting guard had just seven after halftime.

Minnesota forwards Corey Brewer and Derrick Williams each added 13 points.

The Cavs shot 45.9 percent from the field, compared to the Wolves' 36.2 percent. CLEVELAND outrebounded Minnesota 49-43.

The Wolves used a 17-2 run in the fourth quarter to get back in the game. The Cavs committed seven of their 24 turnovers while getting outscored 31-17 in the final period.

"That was entertaining," Brown said facetiously.

Once the Wolves started running the floor, CLEVELAND couldn't slow them down. Minnesota amassed 30 fast-break points against the defensive-minded Cavs.

"It was a great job in the fourth quarter by our guys," Minnesota coach Rick Adelman said. "We just got too far behind. We had a great shot to win it, but it didn't happen.

"We didn't defend the whole first half."

NOTES: Bynum said he has concerns whether the explosiveness will ever return to his game. He was once one of the most athletic big men in the NBA. "It makes you have to rely more on your footwork and skills," said Bynum, who was limited to 9.2 minutes per game before Monday. ... Love finished the weekend averaging 29.7 points and 14.7 rebounds. "It's cool," Love said of winning the Player of the Week honor. "I'm a little surprised I've never won it before. I want to thank my teammates and coaches. It's a testament to us winning." ... Cavs F Anthony Bennett missed all three of his shots, making him 0-for-15 from the field on the season. Bennett was the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft out of UNLV. "I told him, 'Go out and be the animal you were in college,' " Brown said. ... A league source said the Cavs signed Fs Michael Lee, Kevin Jones and Tyrell Biggs to their D-League team in Canton, Ohio.

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