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Mar 21, 2024 8:28 pm

Cavs, Timberwolves set sights on bounce-back performances

Anthony Edwards

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves each will try to bounce back from a loss in their previous game when they meet Friday night in Minneapolis.

Cleveland (43-26) is coming off a 107-104 setback at home against the Miami Heat on Wednesday night. The Cavaliers have lost two of their last three games and four of their past six, but they remain in position to make a run in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Meanwhile, Minnesota (47-22) is looking to turn the page after a 115-112 loss at home against the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night. That snapped a three-game winning streak for the Timberwolves, who remain in contention for the top playoff seed in the Western Conference.

Both the Timberwolves and the Cavaliers are dealing with injuries to key players.

Minnesota played its most recent game without big men Karl-Anthony Towns (knee), Rudy Gobert (ribs) and Naz Reid (concussion protocol). Towns is not due back anytime soon, and Gobert and Reid are listed as questionable for Friday’s contest.

Timberwolves top scorer Anthony Edwards has a dislocated left middle finger but played through the pain earlier this week. He scored 30 points on 13-for-26 shooting in the loss to Denver.

Minnesota guard Mike Conley said he felt encouraged despite the loss. The Timberwolves were depleted by injuries and nearly knocked off the defending champion Nuggets.

“We have faith in everybody that plays, and for us to have a showing like we did (Tuesday), going against one of the better teams out there, it shows a lot of grit (and) shows what we’re made of,” Conley said. “… You just love to see the guys build around each other and find ways through it.”

Cleveland also has been beset by injuries. It is playing without three starters.

Donovan Mitchell has a broken nose and will be evaluated next week. He is averaging a team-high 27.4 points to go along with 6.1 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game.

Evan Mobley (sprained left ankle) and Max Strus (right knee strain) also have been out. Mobley is averaging a double-double with 15.6 points and 10.2 rebounds, and Strus is averaging 12.2 points while shooting 34 percent from beyond the arc.

Mobley and Strus have been ruled out for Friday’s game along with Mitchell.

“All are closer, but I can’t give you any projected timetable,” Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff said.

This is the second and final game of the regular season between the teams.

The first matchup went to overtime, and Cleveland prevailed 113-104 at home. Jarrett Allen recorded a double-double in the win with 33 points and 18 rebounds, and he also tallied three assists, two steals and two blocked shots.

Reid scored 34 points off the bench to lead the Timberwolves in their first game against the Cavaliers. Edwards finished with 19 points but missed 20 of 27 shots from the floor.

Minnesota is 23-9 at home this season. Cleveland is 21-12 on the road.

–Field Level Media

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