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James puts a muzzle on Wolves

By Associated Press in Minneapolis | China Daily | Updated: 2017-02-16 07:40


Cavaliers: Forward Iman Shumpert played 25 minutes after missing the previous three games with a sprained left ankle ... Williams scored 13 points off the bench against the team that drafted him No 2 overall ... Tristan Thompson had 14 points and 11 boards.

Timberwolves: Shooting guard Zach LaVine had surgery in Los Angeles on Tuesday to reconstruct the torn ACL in his left knee. He is expected to miss nine months while recovering ... Point guard Ricky Rubio had 16 assists and eight rebounds, but was just 2 for 8 from the field ... Guard Lance Stephenson has played well since signing a 10-day contract last week. He drained his first two shots on Tuesday, but then grotesquely rolled his left ankle just three minutes into his first shift and had to be helped off the court.

Quote of the night

As he prepared to face a Timberwolves team filled with very young players trying to find their place in the league, James was asked how long it took him to turn the corner as a pro.

"I turned the corner very, very young," James said, smiling. "Probably about 16."

Cleveland coping with injury carousel

LeBron James might take on a heavier workload down the stretch to make up for the absence of All-Star Kevin Love, and the added wear and tear could prove costly in the Cleveland Cavaliers' quest to repeat as NBA champions.

Love will miss six weeks after having arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Tuesday and while his injury will not sink the Cavaliers it could cost them the Eastern Conference's top seed and make their road to the NBA Finals a little tougher.

It's the latest injury for a Cavaliers team already playing without injured starting shooting guard JR Smith, but not a situation the team is unfamiliar with.

"It's just our road; every season one of our key guys gets hurt," James said before the Cavs beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 116-108 on Tuesday.

"This year has probably been the worst of all, having our starting guard out for so long and then having our All-Star power forward out for an extended period of time. It's just a case of next man up."

The Cavaliers (38-16) have a two-game lead over the surging Boston Celtics in the East and might need to lean on James much more if they want to lock up the top seed, which would guarantee them homecourt advantage until at least the NBA Finals should they get that far.

But having James healthy for the playoffs is the team's top priority and likely only hope of winning a championship, which means they will have to quickly sort out how to get by during Love's absence.

"We can't run LeBron into the ground because Kevin's out," said Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue. "Guys have to step up and be ready to play."

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