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Associated Press, Published February 11 2013

Timberwolves top Cavaliers to halt road losing streak

CLEVELAND – All the losses and injuries had been piling up for weeks on the Timberwolves. They were shaken, unsure, almost helpless to stop them.

They were desperate for a break. And finally, they got one.

Luke Ridnour scored 21 points, Ricky Rubio added 13 and 10 assists and Minnesota snapped an eight-game road losing streak, beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 100-92 on Monday night.

“We needed that bad, man,” Ridnour said.

He made a critical 3-pointer with 1 minute, 43 seconds left and scored 13 points in the fourth quarter for the banged-up Timberwolves, who hadn’t won on the road since Jan. 3 – star forward Kevin Love’s last game before he was lost indefinitely with a broken hand.

Nikola Pekovic added 16 points and 10 rebounds as Minnesota ended a four-game losing streak and improved to just 4-16 since losing Love.

“It’s been a long month for us,” Ridnour said. “It’s always tough. We’re competitors. You want to win games. Losing, as much as you don’t want to say it, takes a toll on you. This is a good one for us.”

Kyrie Irving scored 20 points and Tristan Thompson had 16 for the Cavs, who were within 82-81 in the fourth before Ridnour sparked a 10-2 run by the Timberwolves. Minnesota shot 75 percent (12 of 16) in the fourth quarter, leaving Cleveland swingman C.J. Miles to call out his teammates.

“We basically did it to ourselves,” he said. “They made some tough shots – don’t take anything away from them – but for the most part, we gave the game to them. We just don’t get it. It was just a poor effort from the start. It just didn’t look like we were interested.”

Cavs coach Byron Scott was at a loss to explain perhaps his team’s worst loss this season.

“I’m baffled,” Scott said. “We had a little adversity and we scattered. We didn’t come together.”

Before the game, Minnesota coach Rick Adelman said the losing and mounting injuries had taken a toll on his players.

“When you go through the things we’ve had to go through the last two or three weeks, it wears on you mentally,” said Adelman, who recently took an extended absence to be with his wife, Mary Kay, as she recovers from seizures. “They’re human. You get out there and bust your tails and lose a close game in the last minute it starts to wear on you big time.”

At one point in the second half, a frustrated Rubio slapped the padded basket support after picking up a foul on a charge.

Afterward, Adelman praised his players for persevering.

“In this league you’ve got to be mentally tough enough to get through it,” he said. “You’ve got to find a way to win. I hope it’s a big boost for us.”

Minnesota 25 24 23 28 – 100

Cleveland 27 19 19 27 – 92

MINNESOTA (100): Gelabale 3-4 2-2 11, Williams 4-9 3-4 12, Pekovic 6-14 4-6 16, Rubio 5-9 2-2 13, Ridnour 9-14 2-2 21, Cunningham 4-9 0-0 8, Shved 5-9 1-1 12, Barea 2-4 0-0 5, Stiemsma 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 39-75 14-17 100.

CLEVELAND (92): Gee 5-10 0-2 11, Thompson 5-12 6-7 16, Zeller 0-2 0-0 0, Irving 9-20 1-2 20, Waiters 6-6 0-0 12, Speights 5-9 0-0 10, Livingston 2-2 0-0 4, Ellington 4-7 0-0 10, Miles 4-9 0-0 9, Walton 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 40-79 7-11 92.

3-Point Goals: Minnesota 8-14 (Gelabale 3-3, Rubio 1-1, Williams 1-2, Ridnour 1-2, Barea 1-3, Shved 1-3), Cleveland 5-18 (Ellington 2-3, Irving 1-3, Miles 1-5, Gee 1-5, Zeller 0-1, Walton 0-1). Fouled Out: None. Rebounds: Minnesota 41 (Pekovic 10), Cleveland 41 (Thompson 9). Assists: Minnesota 25 (Rubio 10), Cleveland 24 (Irving 7). Total Fouls: Minnesota 17, Cleveland 15. A: 11,556 (20,562).