No Love, no problem for Cavs against Timberwolves

The Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — LeBron James spent the morning sending a crystal clear message to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the wake of Kevin Love’s knee injury: things will be just fine as long as James is on the court.

He spent the night backing that up against an emboldened Andrew Wiggins and the Minnesota Timberwolves.

James had 25 points, 14 assists and eight rebounds to lead the Cavaliers to a 116-108 win over the Timberwolves on Tuesday.

Channing Frye had 21 points and 10 rebounds while starting for Love, who will miss at least the next six weeks after having surgery on his left knee. Kyrie Irving scored 25 points for the Cavs, and James sealed the victory with a stepback 3-pointer with two minutes to play.

“The one thing that we can always rely on is the fact that we’ve played without Kev before,” James said. “We’ve had to do that in the playoffs. As much as you don’t like to play without some of your big guns, sometimes if it happens then you’re just ready for it.”

Wiggins scored 41 points against the team that drafted him and Karl-Anthony Towns had 26 points for the Wolves, who allowed Cleveland to shoot 51 percent and hit 13 3s.

“It’s always competitive playing them,” said Wiggins, chosen by the Cavs No. 1 overall three years ago but traded to Minnesota for Love before ever getting to play a game for Cleveland. “I feel like it brings out the best in everybody.”

The Cavs appeared to be pulling away when they opened a 14-point lead in the third quarter, but Wiggins exploded for 20 points in the period to make it a game. He hit a 3-pointer and beat the buzzer on a long 2 to tie it at 93 going into the fourth.

The Wolves missed two open 3-pointers that would have tied the game in the final four minutes, but James hit his from deep and Derrick Williams got a steal and a layup to drop Wiggins to 0-6 against the Cavaliers.

“We’ll get ’em eventually,” Wiggins said.