It is clear to me that I am not the person who should be writing this recap, because having seen the game, I still have no idea what happened.
I do not understand this league. I do not understand this game.
But since I'm here...
The Wolves looked primed for a easy loss tonight, as they came out with a distinct lack of energy and, excepting Kevin Martin, couldn't make a shot for most of the night.
The Cavs were dominating the paint, collecting rebounds, and defending the rim, and the Wolves failed to loosen things up by making perimeter shots, outside the aforementioned Kevin Martin, who finished with 23 points on the night behind five three pointers.
This went on, more or less, for 3 and half quarters, and the Wolves were staring up at a 15 point deficit that had been as high as 22. Nothing was going right. Anderson Varejao was killing the Wolves inside, the Cavs were quicker to everything, and C.J. Miles had the first MPE (Mediocre Player Explosion) against the Wolves this season.
And then...I still don't know how that comeback happened. The Cavs started missing. The Wolves started stealing. And they got back into the game. Was it Ricky Rubio orchestrating with his energy and vision? Nope. He was on the bench having shot a miserable 0-7 on the night. Was it Kevin Love? Not really. Big Pek? Nope. A rather grim 3-12 from the field. Kevin Martin? He did his damage early.
No, it was a mishmash of plays from Corey Brewer (6 steals, 13 points), Derrick Williams (13 points on 9 shots), and J.J. Barea being a pest defensively and...dribbling around. I told you at the beginning I have no idea what happened.
Ultimately, they fell short when Kevin Love missed what would have been the game winning 3 pointer at the buzzer, which came about when J.J. fumbled the ball and barely got it back to volleyball it to Love behind the arc. It was that kind of game.
It's funny. I didn't feel much when the shot bounced away. This thing was so bizarre I think I hadn't really accepted that they had a chance to win. And in truth, while I wish it had gone it, it would have been a robbery of the highest order had the Wolves won this one.
It looked like a game that would never be close after the Cavs extended their lead well into double digits in the 2nd quarter, and especially when the Wolves were unable to make a meaningful run in the third. That it turned into a nail-biter is credit to the players who kept scrapping even as things weren't going their way. Ultimately, there is some justice in the Cavs getting this win, as much as I would have liked it to go the other way.
Sometimes you lose in the NBA. Sometimes things happen that are hard to explain. That was one weird night.
- Kevin Martin went 5-8 from three, the rest of the team went 0-20, including Love's 0-7.
- The Wolves once again won the battle of free throw attempts, 24-11.
- They also forced 23 cavs turnvers, 16 of which were steals.
- Their 36% from the floor and 18% from three was reminiscent of last year. Let's hope it was just one of those nights.
- Ricky Rubio played only 26 minutes and sat for the entire 4th quarter. He was struggling looking for his shot, and Adelman clearly liked the energy with Barea out there in the 4th, especially once they started cutting into the lead.
- It appeared that Kevin Love got hit in the face twice late in the game, but did not get a call either time. He only had 1 free throw attempt on the night, which will likely wind up a season low. He finished with 17, 13 and 5, but it took him 20 shots to get there.
- Gorgui Dieng's three minute shift was not good, as he was called for three fouls. He didn't reappear. Depth on the front line is now entering problem territory.