He was happier with his game-saving defensive play.
Beasley scored on a driving layup with 5.9 seconds left to give Minnesota a 98-97 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night, snapping the Timberwolves’ losing streak at seven.
While understandably happy with the shot, he was more interested in talking about what occurred a few seconds later when he forced Antawn Jamison into an off-balance 10-footer that bounced off the rim twice and fell off.
”It was extra sweet to do it on the defensive end,” said Beasley, who had 28 points. ”I forced him into a bad shot and we got the win.”
Jamison, who led Cleveland with 24 points, thought he was fouled and said Beasley told him after the play that he had indeed fouled him.
”I’m biased,” Jamison said. ”I thought there was contact. That’s how the game goes.”
Jamison gave the Cavaliers a 97-96 lead with 10.6 seconds left. After Minnesota called a timeout, Beasley, a left-handed shooter, got the ball at the top of the key, drove to his right past Jamison and banked in the winning basket.
It may have taken the entire game, but Beasley finally tuned in to coach Kurt Rambis’ advice.
”Coach had been telling me all game to go right because they opened up the right side for me,” Beasley said. ”I just decided to listen.”
”I thought he would go to his left, but he went to his right,” Jamison said. ”He made a good play.”
Beasley enjoyed his late-game duel with Jamison.
”That was nice,” Beasley said. ”I liked that.”
The Cavaliers are 1-13 in their last 14 and 8-22 overall. Cleveland couldn’t hold a 14-point lead early in the fourth quarter.
”This one stings a little bit more, probably than any one all season,” Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said. ”We were almost scared to win the game. When you want to win the game, you have to go and take it. That’s the bottom line.”
Luke Ridnour scored 23 points to help Minnesota improve to 7-24. Love added 16, including 14 in the fourth quarter, and had 18 rebounds for his NBA-leading 26th double-double.
Anthony Parker had 21 and Mo Williams added 17 for the Cavaliers. Trailing 62-57 midway through the third quarter, the Cavaliers pulled ahead on a 31-12 run to take an 88-74 lead with 8:07 to play. Jawad Williams hit three 3-pointers and J.J. Hickson scored five points during the run.
”Everybody just kind of rallied around each other,” Rambis said. ”It wasn’t a good ballgame for us. I don’t think we played particularly well, but we played well in spots to get a win.”
Minnesota is 2-17 on the road this season, with the other win coming in Sacramento on Nov. 10.
Love didn’t make a field goal until scoring off an offensive rebound with 9:10 to play. He added another basket and hit a 3-pointer that cut it to 88-81 with 6:32 left. Ridnour hit two 3-pointers to help Minnesota get within one at 91-90.
Love’s two free throws with 2:13 to play gave Minnesota a 94-93 lead.
”It was a slow game for me,” Love said. ”I don’t know if it was Christmas or if it was the food I had yesterday. I was sucking wind out there. I was a little slow those first three quarters.”
Mo Williams’ two foul shots with 1:30 left put Cleveland ahead 95-94.
After Ridnour missed a shot in the lane with 51 seconds to play, Williams turned the ball over with 31 seconds left. Ridnour missed on a fast break, but Love was fouled after grabbing the rebound and Minnesota pulled ahead with 24.3 seconds to go.
Jamison’s basket put Cleveland ahead briefly before Beasley hit the winner.
Cleveland starting shooting guard Daniel Gibson missed the game because of the flu.
Notes: Minnesota beat Cleveland 129-95 in Minneapolis on Dec. 4. … Minnesota C Kosta Koufos, hit in the nose during a recent practice, wore a mask in the first half, but discarded it in the third quarter. … The Timberwolves, who have played seven of their last eight on the road, will play New Orleans at home Monday night. … F Joey Graham (pulled quad) missed the game for Cleveland.