Cavaliers streak ends with 102-95 loss to Wolves
BY STONE LEXINGTON
CAVALIERS BEAT WRITER
(CLEVELAND, OH) - Young Bull. You don’t earn that nickname without being tough, which Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Colin Sexton has certainly shown since taking over as the team’s starting point guard earlier this month.
Sexton had averaged 19.6 points per game as a starter entering Monday night’s contest against the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the Cavs have more than tripled their win total since former starting point guard George Hill went down with a shoulder sprain. But behind a solid performance for former Cavalier Derrick Rose in the fourth quarter on Monday, the Timberwolves topped the Cavs 102-95 in Quicken Loans Arena.
“They did a good job of blitzing all of our scorers on the perimeter,” Cavs shooting guard Rodney Hood, who finished with 20 points, said. “We made plays, we got some open shots that if we hit it would have changed the momentum, but it didn’t go down. I think we got a little frustrated.”
The Timberwolves led by as many as 12 points in the third quarter when Taj Gibson gave Minnesota a 69-57 lead with 5:46 to play until the fourth quarter. Yet, the Cavs battled back to trail just 75-71 heading into the fourth quarter, a run capped by a Sexton three-point play.
Former Cavs point guard opened the fourth quarter with back-to-back jumpers that put Minnesota back up eight points. When he drained his third jumper of the quarter with 8:27 to play, the Wolves had regained their double-digit lead, 86-74. Rose was the catalyst for keeping the Cavs at bay down the stretch, scoring 10 of his 12 points in the fourth.
Robert Covington finished with 24 points and seven rebounds, Karl Anthony-Towns chipped-in 21 points and nine rebounds, while also hitting several big shots in the final minutes.
“I just thought it was one of those nights that shots just didn’t fall (for Sexton),” Cavs interim head coach Larry Drew said. “There are going to be nights like that.”
There are more good point guards in the NBA than ever before, and Sexton will have to meet them at some point. The Cavs rookie wasn’t at his best on Monday, totaling 11 points on 5-of-19 shooting with six rebounds and four assists.
“I hope that he approaches it the way he’s been approaching every other guy he’s played against as far a matchups are concerned,” Drew said. “With knowing who these guys are, knowing what their tendencies are, he’s still got a lot of growing to do and part of his growth is going to be playing against those type guys.
“We don’t expect him to go out there and shut those guys down. We’ve got to give him help. We’ve got to help all of our guys at every position…Hopefully, he’ll go in with his matchups and he’ll take the challenge, which he has done thus far this season.”
It can be difficult to make your mark as a point guard in the NBA, as there are numerous good ones in the league. The way to make sure you’re prepared against some of the league’s best is knowing what they want to do before they do.
“I think when you come in as a rookie, there’s a lot to be learned as far as playing against certain guys,” Drew said. “Guys have different tendencies. A big part of the growth process is learning these guys and what they like to do…His approach has really been good.”
Another young Cleveland star who has had a good approach this season was in attendance to watch Sexton and the Cavs on Monday, Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. If Sexton can make a splash this season the way Mayfield already has in his rookie year, the Cavs will be well on their way to more victories. .
POSTED 11/26/2018 21:52