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Cavaliers at Timberwolves Game Thread

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The Wolves are expecting a near sellout tonight for the return of Kevin Love.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Cavs at Wolves
7:00 pm CST
FS North

Yes, yes, Kevin Love is making his apparently anticipated return to Target Center tonight for the first time since his summer trade to Cleveland.  There have been a lot of words written about this, which I was going to add to until I realized: a) I had nothing to add, and b) I don't understand why it's a big deal.

Players switch teams all the time. Good players, even great ones. It's the nature of the business. They get traded or they move as free agents. It's a feature of professional sports, not a bug.

Kevin Love played for the Wolves for six seasons, and he played very well. He authored some exciting moments and set some records. In the end, the team could not win while he was here, and I have no interest in getting back into how much of that should be on his shoulders, though "none of it" seems like the best answer to me.

At any rate, I would be pleased if the crowd recognized the stellar play Love gave us by giving him a nice round of applause when he is introduced, but I expect boos will be much more prevalent. It really doesn't matter much.

The Wolves are building it up though; they've been pushing for a sellout for months, but don't yet have it. They are even bringing in Naughty by Nature to perform at halftime. Which also doesn't matter much.

What does matter is that the Wolves are coming off a horrific loss last night to the 76ers and are looking to rebound with a better effort. Unfortunately, rumors that Ricky Rubio would make his return in this game proved inaccurate, as the team has announced he will return on Monday in Dallas instead. As of this writing, who will be available to play point guard tonight remains up in the air, as Mo Williams missed last night's game with hip soreness, and Zach LaVine twisted his ankle, though he did return briefly later in the game.

The Cavs meanwhile seem to have righted the ship after some early struggles, and are now sitting at 28-20 and looking to move up in the Eastern Conference standings. Despite Love's struggles (and why they don't run James/Love PnR remains a huge mystery), they have a very strong offense led by LeBron James and Kyrie Irving who combine to average 48 points a night. Their recent trade of Dion Waiters and acquisitions of J.R. Smith and Timofey Mozgov have changed their look some, but it doesn't seem to have had a big effect on their defense, which remains one of the worst in the league, though nowhere near the Wolves' class of bad.

The first meeting between these teams resulted in an easy Cavs win in Cleveland, with all three of their stars scoring 20+, and Irving leading the way with 29 on 12-19 from the floor. Frankly, it's hard to see how the Wolves stop that guy, and I would not be surprised by another big night for him.

That was also the breakout game for Andrew Wiggins, who not only scored 27 on 9-16, but for the first time really displayed a shot selection that made me happy. He attacked the rim and took three pointers, and settled for very little in between. I tweeted about it that night, and wrote about it later, but Cleveland was the starting point. Of course, after a month of goodness beginning that night, Wiggins has cooled off some and appears to be reverting to some poor habits; perhaps the Cavs can get him going again.

Expected linups

Cavs

Kyrie Irving
J.R. Smith
LeBron James
Kevin Love
Timofey Mozgov

Wolves

Mo Williams Lorenzo Brown
Andrew Wiggins 
Thaddeus Young
Gorgui Dieng
Nikola Pekovic

EDIT: No Williams or LaVine tonight for the Wolves. Go LoBro.

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