Timberwolves maul lacklustre Cavaliers
King James and Co. humiliated in shockingly one-sided encounter
The Minnesota Timberwolves humbled LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers yesterday morning (Singapore time), leading by as many as 41 points en route to a 127-99 triumph in Minneapolis.
Andrew Wiggins scored 25 points to pace a Timberwolves team who led from start to finish against a Cavs team who went to the last three NBA Finals, winning the title two seasons ago.
Karl-Anthony Towns - the only Timberwolves starter to play in the fourth quarter - added 19 points with 12 rebounds and Wolves forward Taj Gibson added another double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds.
Jimmy Butler flirted with a triple-double, amassing 21 points with nine assists and eight rebounds while playing a key role in limiting four-time NBA Most Valuable Player James to 10 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
James and the rest of the Cavs starters also sat out the fourth quarter - although for Isaiah Thomas, that absence came courtesy of his third-quarter ejection.
Thomas was tossed when he reached out towards a driving Wiggins and caught the Minnesota forward under the chin.
Assessed a flagrant-2 foul, Thomas was immediately ejected, although he said that he was merely reaching in for a steal.
"I've got numerous steals like that, so it just happened that I hit him in the throat," Thomas said.
"I apologised right away because I knew I didn't mean to do that. I'm just glad he's all right."
Thomas was playing his third game for the Cavs after a hip injury had sidelined him since he joined the team in a pre-season trade. In his first two games back, the Cavs averaged 129 points a game, but they never got going yesterday.
CAVS IN THIRD
"As a team, we just had no rhythm on both ends," Thomas said.
"It's tough when you're getting the shots that you want and they're just not falling - it kind of rubs off on the defensive end."
The Cavaliers fell to 26-14. They're third in the Eastern Conference behind Thomas' former team, the Boston Celtics, and the Toronto Raptors, who edged out the Nets 114-113 in over-time in a bruising encounter in Brooklyn. - AFP