LeBron James and Kyrie Irving on Tuesday each scored 25 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers withstood a huge night from Andrew Wiggins to record a 116-108 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Canada’s Wiggins finished with a game-high 41 points for the Timberwolves, equaling his second-highest point total this NBA season.
James also had 14 assists for Cleveland, who sealed their 38th win of the season with 1 minute, 39 seconds remaining when ex-Timberwolves player Derrick Williams finished off a fast break layup. The layup came just moments after James had nailed a step-back three-pointer.
Wiggins had help from Karl-Anthony Towns, who scored 26 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Gorgui Dieng added 12 points, but no other Timberwolves player reached double figures in scoring.
Wiggins got the Timberwolves back in the game, sparking a rally after Irving hit a three-pointer halfway through the third quarter to give Cleveland a 14-point lead.
Wiggins scored a total of 19 points in the third quarter.
Cleveland had to make due without forward Kevin Love, who had surgery on his left knee on Tuesday and will be sidelined for six weeks. Love was averaging 20 points and 11 rebounds per game.
“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.”
Channing Frye helped fill the void by chipping in with 21 points.
Tristan Thompson also contributed to the offense by adding 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Williams is on a 10-day contract with Cleveland after previously playing for the Miami Heat this season. His teammates spoke highly of his performance on Tuesday.
“He plays extremely hard, plays above the rim. He can guard two through almost five,” Irving said. “Then when you have the ability to do that and you’re on a team like this, we’re going to get you the ball and we’re going to put you in a spot to be successful on both ends.”
It was the Cavaliers’ second win over Minnesota in a two-week span. The Cavaliers crushed the Timberwolves 125-97 on Feb. 1.
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