The Minnesota Timberwolves were defeated by the Kevin Love-less Cleveland Cavaliers 116-108 on Tuesday night.
Andrew Wiggins’ 41-points night came in a losing effort, as the Wolves failed to come up with enough stops to slow down Cleveland late in the final frame.
“We did a lot of good things, but we didn’t finish the game off like we should have,” Wiggins told the media afterward.
“We scored a lot of points and only scored 15 in the fourth. Just got to finish off stronger.”
After having trailed by as many as 14, Wiggins knocked down two three-pointers on consecutive possessions during the final 15 seconds of the third to tie things up at 93. But president-coach Tom Thibodeau’s club did not execute well enough when it mattered most, and was outscored 23-15 over the final 12 minutes of the contest.
“This was a good test for us,” Thibodeau expressed to the media.
“To beat a good team, I thought the game we played in Cleveland, we played a good half. Tonight I thought we played good for three quarters, but to beat this team, you’ve got to play all four quarters.”
Ricky Rubio struggled to put the ball in the basket, making just 2-of-8 attempts from the field en route to five points to go with his 16 assists, eight rebounds, two steals and four turnovers. For him, it was an untimely, somewhat disappointing individual performance, being that Rubio had been scoring the ball at an effective clip as of late — putting up 10+ points in eight of the previous 11 matchups.
Rubio following the game was complimentary of Wiggins’ performance.
“He took over for part of the game and he’s capable of doing that. He really is a great player and we need more of that. I know it’s hard to ask, but he’s capable of it.”
Moreover, the Wolves’ starting point guard was spot on in saying that he and his teammates must figure out how to close out tightly contested games.
“They’re a great team,” he admitted.
“We played really good for most parts of the game, I think we were down three with two minutes left. We need to learn how to close out games. They’re one of the best teams in the league and we’ve got to believe.”