While there’s little doubt about Kevin Love being the best player this season so far for the Minnesota Timberwolves, it would be foolish to ignore the improvement we’ve seen from Ricky Rubio, almost posting a double double in the first quarter, while the Timberwolves have no problem beating the terrible Cleveland Cavaliers 124-95.
It all ended in the first quarter, as the Timberwolves took a 38-24 lead. Ricky Rubio led the charge with a 18-6, in which Rubio assisted or scored on every basket. He finished with 16 points (5-of-7 from the field) and 16 assists, as the Timberwolves showed no problem of handling a game without Kevin Martin in the lineup.
It only meant other players stepped up a bit: Kevin Love scored 33 points and grabbing 8 rebounds, the first game this season without a double double for the power forward, who is averaging 27.1 points and 14.2 rebounds per game. The high pace game of the Timberwolves is making Love look like a point forward, averaging 5.1 assist per game, as almost 63% of his assists this season are going to Corey Brewer and Kevin Martin.
Corey Brewer finished with 27 points, and his second tenure with the team has been a vast improvement to his early days in the league. Brewer is somewhat of a reluctant shooter most of the time, but he improved on that shy quality of his during his time with the Nuggets, and had no problem taking extra shots with Martin out of the picture, especially thanks to the Timberwolves running a very up tempo game, which fits his style perfectly, not to mention hitting 5-of-5 from beyond the arc, with the Timberwolves shooting 50% from three on the night.
The Cavs were so bad Minnesota didn’t need their started to play in the fourth quarter. The lead grew to 39 points at some stage before the garbage time crews managed to make it seem a bit more reasonable. Andrew Bynum didn’t travel with the team, while the team’s defense fell apart from the first second of the game. The Cavs are 0-6 this season on the road, with their last three losses combing by 15 points or more, which means there’s a problem with character and possibly quitting ahead of time.
The Timberwolves are another team that seem completely different at home and away, but it mostly depends on how well Rubio runs the floor and shoots. The moment their point guard feels comfortable with setting the pace of the game and doesn’t struggle with his outside shot, this team is one of the most fun to watch in the league, as Kevin Love helps him run things from a different position on the floor. So far, it’s been looking very well for them, and as long as no serious injuries get in the way, they may have finally found the formula to take them to the playoffs.
It was fun tonight. We were passing the ball. Ricky had a great night. Kevin Love had a great night. The game’s easy when you’re passing the ball.