CLEVELAND — Collin Sexton and the Cavaliers came down to earth Monday night.
On a season-high two-game winning streak behind excellent play from their rookie point guard, team and player never really got it going as the Cavs fell 102-95 to the Minnesota Timberwolves at Quicken Loans Arena.
“It was one of those nights where shots didn’t fall,” Cleveland coach Larry Drew said of Sexton’s 5-for-19 shooting. “There are going to be nights like that.
“He was aggressive, but he got a little too aggressive when we needed movement ... he’s a live wire. I’m not going to slow him down. He needs to be in attack mode.”
Sexton finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and four assists, but also committed four turnovers as Cleveland fell to 4-15.
“They didn’t do anything different,” the 19-year-old said of the Timberwolves. “I just wasn’t making any shots.
“Those games happen,” he added. “I’ve just got to make sure I turn something else on so we can get the victory.”
Kyle Korver had 14 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Cavs with a season-high 22, while Rodney Hood finished with 20. Tristan Thompson had 20 points and 11 rebounds and Larry Nance Jr., who started in place of an injured David Nwaba (knee), had 12 points, eight boards and a career-high seven assists.
Only Cedi Osman, who had eight points on 3-for-12 shooting, had a negative plus-minus among Cleveland starters, but all four reserves that saw action — Andrew Harrison (-15), Jordan Clarkson (-11), Ante Zizic (-8) and Korver (-7) — were in the red.
“We had some spurts,” said Korver, who made 6 of 9 3-pointers. “Just not long enough.”
Minnesota (10-11), which won its second straight road game after an 0-8 start, got 24 points from Robert Covington, who was 1-for-18 from the field in his previous game, 21 points and 11 rebounds from Karl-Anthony Towns and 12 points and four assists from former Cleveland point guard Derrick Rose, who had 10 points and three assists in the game-deciding fourth quarter.
The story, though, was the Cavs’ offensive struggles, as they scored just 69 points over the final three periods.
“Offensively, we never really got into a good flow,” Korver said.
Up four entering the fourth period, the Timberwolves went on an 11-3 run to take an 86-74 lead. The Cavs came right back with a 10-2 spurt of their own to make it a four-point game, but never managed to take the lead over the final three periods.
Clarkson, who had 37 points in the final quarter over the previous three games, scored just four all night against Minnesota on 1-for-6 shooting, with two coming in the fourth.
That caused Drew to go back to Hood later in the period, but nothing worked well enough for the Cavs to win their third straight.
“Any time you’re in a situation where you can’t quite get over the hump, you’ve got to keep trying things,” Drew said. “I felt that was the situation.”
The game started strangely — a 6-0 Cleveland run, 7-0 Minnesota run, 6-0 Cleveland run, 7-0 Minnesota run and 6-0 Cleveland run — before the Timberwolves grabbed a 29-26 lead after the first period.
Minnesota began the second quarter with a 13-2 spurt to go up 42-28. While the Cavs fought back numerous times, they never led from that point as their modest winning streak came to an end.
“Hey, come on,” Korver said. “The Cavs are going in the right direction ... we’re trending in the right direction. We’re not there yet, but we’re going in the right direction.”