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RECAP
12/08/2012 12:46 AM EST
Love's 36 and 13 lift Wolves over Cavs, 91-73
MINNESOTA 91, CLEVELAND 73

By JON KRAWCZYNSKI
AP Basketball Writer

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Kevin Love's shooting stroke returned, and
Andrei Kirilenko also was back for the Minnesota Timberwolves.



The timing couldn't have been worse for the reeling Cleveland
Cavaliers.



Love had 36 points and 13 rebounds and Kirilenko delivered
another solid all-around performance in the Timberwolves' 91-73
victory over the Cavaliers on Friday night.



Love missed most of the first month of the season with a broken
right hand, and he's been struggling to regain his shooting
touch since returning nine games ago. The release looked much
more fluid against the Cavs, and the trajectory was better as
well. He made 10 of 19 shots and 14 of 18 free throws and is
cautiously optimistic that it's all coming back to him now.



"Hopefully it's not fool's gold," Love said. "It's a step in the
right direction. I've been putting in work, but it's just one
game."



Kirilenko had eight points, seven rebounds, six assists, four
steals and three blocks after missing four games with back
spasms and Luke Ridnour added 12 points, seven assists and five
rebounds for the Timberwolves, who improved to 9-9 in their best
start since the 2006-07 season.



Alonzo Gee scored 16 points and Anderson Varejao grabbed 14
rebounds for the Cavaliers, who have lost four in a row and
eight of their last nine while star guard Kyrie Irving has been
out with a broken left index finger.



The Cavs turned the ball over 20 times, which led to 32
Minnesota points, shot 34.5 percent and attempted just nine free
throws to Minnesota's 35.



"I'm trying to figure out a way to say this without getting
fined," coach Byron Scott said of the officiating. "It was that
bad. It really was. It was that bad. I mean I understand we're
playing in Minnesota, but 35-9, we went to the basket just as
much as they did. I think we had 38 attempts in the paint to
their 34, we get nine free throws, I think that speaks for
itself."



It wasn't a pretty game offensively for either team, aside from
Love's shooting. He entered the night hitting just 19.6 percent
of his 3s and 36 percent overall while still trying to get the
feeling in his hand back to normal.



"I know I haven't been the 25 (points) and 10 (rebounds) guy
that I usually am. ... I haven't been quite putting up the
numbers and helping the team as much as I can," Love said at the
shootaround on Friday morning.



While Love was terrific in the matchup of two of the game's best
rebounders, Varejao managed just four points on 2-for-10
shooting and lost a streak of 10 straight games with at least 15
boards. C.J. Miles scored 13 points for Cleveland.



Both teams were missing their playmaking point guards, and it
showed in the disjointed mess that was the offense on both sides
of the court. Irving missed his 10th straight game and Dion
Waiters was out again with a sprained left ankle, robbing the
Cavaliers of one of the promising young backcourts in the
league.



Once again, the Cavs struggled to create space for easy jumpers,
turned the ball over 18 times and really were relegated to
hoping for a dunk from Gee on offense. Gee threw down a soaring
jam and then knifed through the lane for another two-hander that
cut Minnesota's lead to nine points late in the third quarter.
He made seven of his 12 shots, but his teammates shot just 30
percent.



Miles' dunk pulled the Cavs to within seven in the fourth, but
Minnesota closed the game on a 19-8 surge.



"He's definitely a luxury when you've got a guy that does what
he does, who can break his guy down at any point in time," Miles
said of Irving. "That's definitely a luxury, but we did a good
job, guys are stepping up. We've been in every game to a certain
extent, I think we've just got to figure out how to close games,
how to win games."



NOTES: Varejao did limit Wolves C Nikola Pekovic to four points
and one rebound on 0-for-3 shooting. ... Cavaliers rookie Kevin
Jones made his NBA debut. He had two points and four rebounds in
eight minutes. ... Former No. 2 overall pick Derrick Williams
did not play again for the Wolves, with coach Rick Adelman
preferring to give the bulk of the minutes to Love, Dante
Cunningham and Greg Stiemsma up front.

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