MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Antawn Jamison had 22 points and six rebounds to help the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 98-87 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.
Kyrie Irving had 14 points, five assists and five rebounds and former Timberwolves guard Ramon Sessions had 11 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the Cavaliers, who held Minnesota to three fast-break points.
Kevin Love had 29 points and 14 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who have taken two major steps backward since beating Dallas and San Antonio on successive nights to start the week.
They lost to Memphis on Wednesday night and then never really were in it Friday thanks to an uninspired effort against the Cavs. Minnesota fell to 2-3 on a five-game homestand.
Alonzo Gee, who tried out for the Timberwolves a few seasons ago, had 11 points and six boards off the bench, and the Cavs simply outworked the lackluster Wolves for the win.
The Wolves got as close as 90-78 in the fourth before Anderson Varejao scored on a putback and Jamison drilled a 3-pointer to push the lead back to 17 and seal it for the Cavs.
The Cavaliers entered the game tops in the NBA at allowing fast-break points with just 6.5 per game, and they put the brakes on Ricky Rubio and the Wolves on Friday night.
Minnesota didn’t score a single point in transition through the first 41 minutes and ended up with just three for the night as Cleveland’s physical backcourt held the Wolves in check.
Michael Beasley had nine points on 4-for-12 shooting and 12 rebounds, but limped off with an injured right ankle in the final 2 minutes for Minnesota, which missed 10 free throws and shot 4 for 20 from 3-point range. Rubio finished with 10 points and five assists.
The game pitted Irving, the No. 1 overall pick, against Timberwolves forward Derrick Williams, the second pick and a player the Cavs considered taking in June.
Cavaliers coach Byron Scott has thrown Irving right into the deep end, starting him from opening night while fourth overall pick Tristan Thompson, and Williams in Minnesota, have been coming off the bench. Despite reports that the Cavs were enamored with Williams, Scott said on Friday night that his workouts in Cleveland were “OK.”
“At that particular time, with the No. 1 pick, what we really, truly needed was a point guard,” Scott said. “And that’s what we went after.”
Irving got out quickly in a non-descript first half, scoring 12 points with four assists and three rebounds to help the Cavs take a 52-45 lead into halftime.
Williams was the only thing the Wolves had going for them early. He scored nine points on 3-for-3 shooting while Beasley, Love and Luke Ridnour combined to shoot 6 for 20.
Williams finished with 12 points.
NOTES: Anthony Tolliver shot a 3 at the start of the fourth that grazed the net, and the Wolves PA announcer said that it went in. It didn’t and was wiped off the board. … Timberwolves G JJ Barea missed his fourth game in the last five with a strained right hamstring. He is day-to-day. … It was a homecoming of sorts for Cavaliers assistant Nate Tibbetts, who grew up in Sioux Falls, S.D., and got his start with the Sioux Falls Skyforce in the NBDL. Scott hired him from the Tulsa 66ers this offseason.
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