Both teams started their campaigns with losses and looked competitive throughout their respective games. Cleveland could not hang in with Toronto once Kawhi got going, and without LeBron there everything is different.
Minnesota, on the other hand, was in it until the end. They tied their game with the Spurs on a Jimmy Butler three with 42 seconds left. The Spurs responded with a basket, and the Wolves would not score again. The Timberwolves are -8.5 in this game.
Cavaliers Living Life Without LeBron
It was clear from minute one that things would be different with LeBron James gone. But, it was also made clear to all viewers that this Cavs team was going to fight. Cedi Osman looked fantastic in his first start of the year, while Kevin Love was effective in the paint. Tristan Thompson could not buy a basket around the rim, but grabbed 13 rebounds and did just what we expected him to do. The Cavs bench, with Jordan Clarkson and Collin Sexton, was solid, but they will certainly benefit from the return of Larry Nance and JR Smith. There will be some growing pains for Sexton, but this team will compete.
They face an elite wing for the second game in a row, this time in Jimmy Butler. Cedi Osman will draw the assignment, but if he does half as well as he did on Kawhi individually, they will not lose because of that. They should be worried about Karl-Anthony Towns’s size and versatility being something that destroys them. They need to contain him to keep the game close.
Timberwolves With Home Opener
Though they lost their season opener, there is a lot to be cheerful about in Minnesota. They played competitively from start to finish, and it did not seem like an awkward situation. Jimmy Butler is in Minnesota for the time being after a deal with Miami fell apart. He played 32 mins last night, finishing with 23 pts 7 rbs 3 asts and 4 stls. Wiggins scored 20, while Towns was in foul trouble all night. The biggest surprise was seeing Derrick Rose play 31 minutes off the bench and how inefficient he was. He had eight points on 3-12 shooting and missed a game-tying lay-up late.
Minnesota will likely try to get KAT going early on because they will need him to be effective. Towns struggled, and Gorgui Dieng was not very impressive in his place. It was also surprising to not see Luol Deng in off the bench, with Wiggins or Butler being in at all times. They played two point guards and two bigs off the bench, and no small forward. Too much Derrick Rose last night, and not enough Tyus Jones.
Wolves Earn Their First Win of the Season
Yep, a good day for the Wolves. Favored by 8.5 points, they will not, however, cover the spread. Bet the Cavs +8.5. Jimmy Butler is going to have a terrific performance and help the Wolves to the W.
The Cavs will be competitive for 48 mins, but the turnovers that plagued them vs. Toronto will still happen.
Free Pick: Cavs +8.5
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