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The Cleveland Cavaliers took a step forward in establishing their new identity tonight, earning a 114-107 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. The win was the first ever for new head coach Tyronn Lue, and while it was not a dominant performance, the Cavs did show signs of their change in style and their focus on pushing the pace to earn easy baskets. All five Cleveland starters finished in double figures, and they were joined by Matthew Dellavedova, who had a huge game off the bench with 18 points.

LeBron James and Tristan Thompson led the team statistically tonight. LeBron led the team in points and assists, with 25 and 9, and Thompson played great in the paint, finishing with 19 points and a team high 12 rebounds. The two were about as efficient as they could get from the field, finishing the game 19-25 from the field. Kyrie Irving contributed 17 points, and although they didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, Kevin Love and JR Smith still scored 11 points each.

The first quarter was when the Cavs set the tone that this would be a fast-paced game, as they raced out to a 32-29 lead. Cleveland jumped out to an early 14-4 lead, behind made field goals from all five starters. The Cavs shot 72% for the quarter, racked up eight assists, and made four from behind the three point-line. Coach Lue’s influence on the offense was apparent as the team was actively pushing the ball up the floor and looking for easy opportunities in transition. As the team makes the adjustment to a faster pace and improves their conditioning to keep up with the new style, the bench will be very important, and in the first quarter Matthew Dellavedova brought energy and eight points on Australia Night at the Q.

The Timberwolves kept the game close and actually took the lead late in the second quarter at 53-51. Three straight field goals, two threes and a two by LeBron, all coming with assists, gave the Cavs a 59-55 halftime advantage. The Cavs couldn’t keep up with the lights out shooting of the first quarter, but were still effective in pushing the pace and moving the ball. For the half, the Cavs had 16 assists, which was a product of the pace and their unselfishness on offense.

The Cavs offense came alive again late in the third quarter thanks to hustle plays of Dellavedova and Timofey Mozgov. After being down one, the Cavs ended the quarter on a 16-5 run, taking a 10-point lead into the final frame. The Cavs would pour it on in the beginning of the fourth as well, scoring the first five points to force a timeout with the score 90-75. Minnesota did not go away, however, and made a run to keep it close. The Cavs once again pulled away late, taking a 13-point lead, only to see it slip away once again. The defense held on and the offense did enough to maintain the lead and earn a 7-point win. It is clear that the Cavs did not win this one in convincing fashion, but it was a positive step forward in Coach Lue’s first ever victory as a head coach.

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Kevin Love gets the ball from the inbounding LeBron James, who cuts to the basket. Love finds him cutting and James does the rest.