Timberwolves trounce Cavaliers, Thomas gets ejected

Timberwolves trounce Cavaliers, Thomas gets ejected
Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, right, shoots against Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James during their NBA game at Target Center. (USA TODAY Sports)
Updated 09 January 2018

Timberwolves trounce Cavaliers, Thomas gets ejected

Timberwolves trounce Cavaliers, Thomas gets ejected

LOS ANGELES: The Minnesota Timberwolves humbled LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday, leading by as many as 41 points en route to a 127-99 triumph in Minneapolis.
Andrew Wiggins scored 25 points to pace a Timberwolves team that led from start to finish against a Cavs team that went to the last three NBA Finals, winning the title two seasons ago.
Karl-Anthony Towns — the only Timberwolves starter to play in the fourth quarter — added 19 points with 12 rebounds and Wolves forward Taj Gibson added another double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds.
Jimmy Butler flirted with a triple-double, amassing 21 points with nine assists and eight rebounds while playing a key role in limiting four-time NBA Most Valuable Player James to 10 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
James and the rest of the Cavs starters also sat out the fourth quarter — although for Isaiah Thomas that absence came courtesy of his third-quarter ejection.
Thomas was tossed when he reached out toward a driving Wiggins and caught the Minnesota forward under the chin. Assessed a flagrant-2 foul, Thomas was immediately ejected, although he said he was merely reaching in for a steal.
“I’ve gotten numerous steals like that, so it just happened that I hit him in the throat,” Thomas said. “I apologized right away because I knew I didn’t mean to do that. I’m just glad he’s all right. I went for the ball, but I know anything around the head — especially if it looks bad — you’re going to probably be thrown out.”
Thomas was playing his third game for the Cavs after a hip injury had sidelined him since he joined the team in a pre-season trade.
In his first two games back, the Cavs averaged 129 points a game, but they never fired on Monday.
“As a team, we just had no rhythm on both ends,” Thomas said. “There’s going to be nights like this. We’ve just got to have better energy. It’s tough when you’re getting the shots that you want and they’re just not falling — it kind of rubs off on the defensive end.”