Cavs summon their pride, stun T-Wolves on LeBron James' overtime buzzer-beater

Marla Ridenour, Akron Beacon Journal on

Published in Basketball

CLEVELAND -- Considered the fractured brotherhood inside the Cavaliers locker room, "We Are Family" seemed an appropriate choice as Kathy Sledge of Sister Sledge provided Wednesday night's halftime entertainment at Quicken Loans Arena.

The family could look very different after Thursday's 3 p.m. NBA trade deadline, with the Cavs trying to find the right pieces to stem an alarming 7-13 slide since Christmas.

But first on the agenda were the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves, who handed the Cavs their third-worst loss of the season, a 28-point rout on Jan. 8.

The situation didn't bode well. The Cavs blew a 21-point second-quarter lead and lost Tuesday to the Orlando Magic, 14th in the Eastern Conference, and the T-Wolves stood fourth in the West. The Cavs entered the night 0-8 in national television games shown on ABC, ESPN and TNT this season and this one was aired by ESPN.

Isaiah Thomas continued to criticize the team's chemistry and even took at shot at the coaching staff Tuesday, lamenting the Cavs' lack of in-game adjustments.

Cavs coach Tyronn Lue was back on the bench after leaving Tuesday in the second quarter because of illness, but didn't look good in his pregame press conference.

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But facing dire straits and an uncertain 24 hours, the Cavs finally summoned their pride, kept the pressure on all night and pulled out a stunning 140-138 overtime victory on LeBron James' buzzer-beater over Jimmy Butler.

Andrew Wiggins' jumper with 1:25 remaining in the extra period put the Timberwolves up 138-136. After a timeout, J.R. Smith missed a corner 3, but the Cavs got another chance after Butler missed, and James drove for a layup to tie the score at 138 with 24 seconds left.

Butler held the ball for the last shot and drove to the basket against rookie Cedi Osman. But James came from the weak side to help and blocked the shot with one second to go and Smith rebounded.

On the inbounds play, Jeff Green threw the ball to James near the top of the key. James spun away from Butler and hit the game-winning shot, then was mobbed by his teammates.


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