Love back in Minnesota as Cavs try to start new streak

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Kevin Love will not take a winning streak back to his old stomping ground of Minnesota, although he will visit his former surroundings coming off a 30-point game for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Cavaliers will make their only visit to Minnesota on Saturday in the second game of a back-to-back after falling 129-117 in Boston on Friday evening. That defeat ended a three-game winning streak.

Love’s 30 points, which tied a season high, came on 10-of-16 shooting, including 6 of 11 from 3-point range. It was his second 30-point game of the month after also recording one Dec. 12 at San Antonio. Love reached 30 points just once during an injury-riddled 2018-19 season.

“When we can get him open, we sort of take for granted that he’s going to knock down the 3,” Cavaliers head coach John Beilein said. “But what I think is underrated is his ability to get post position, get to the foul line or sometimes just get a layup out of it. He’s really been playing well for us and he’s healthy right now.”

Love had plenty of high-scoring nights when he was a member of the Timberwolves over his first six seasons. He was also a three-time All-Star during that time. Love averaged 19.2 points and 12.2 rebounds per game in his six seasons in Minnesota and has 17.1 points and 10.1 rebounds in his six seasons in Cleveland.

All of the Cavaliers’ victories during their recent season-best winning streak came at home. Cleveland is just 3-12 on the road and has just one victory away from home since winning at New York on Nov. 10.

Cleveland did welcome Dante Exum on board Friday. Acquired in a trade with the Utah Jazz on Monday for Jordan Clarkson, Exum scored nine points against the Celtics in his Cavaliers debut. Cleveland also received two second-round draft picks in the deal for Clarkson, whose contract expires at the end of the season.

The Cavaliers defeated the Atlanta Hawks shortly after Clarkson was traded but they could not overcome the Celtics four days later.

The Cavaliers might not be entering Saturday’s game off a victory, but the Timberwolves will be. Minnesota ended an 11-game losing streak with a 105-104 road victory over the Sacramento Kings in double overtime Thursday.

It was the first victory of December for the Timberwolves and it came with Karl-Anthony Towns missing his fifth consecutive game because of a left knee sprain. Towns continues to get better but he is listed as questionable heading into Friday’s home game.

Gorgui Dieng gave Minnesota what it needed out of the center spot, scoring 21 points with 15 rebounds. Robert Covington added 19 points and eight rebounds, while Andrew Wiggins scored 18 points with 10 rebounds.

Both teams shot just 34.6 percent from the floor.

“We needed this game bad,” Wiggins said, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “Hopefully we ended the little slump. We can just go up from here.”

–Field Level Media

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