Cavaliers (4-15) at Timberwolves (8-9)
Anderson Varejao leads the NBA in rebounding at 15.4 per game. He’s recorded 10 straight double-doubles. He’s recorded 10 straight games of at least 15 rebounds.
More precisely, in the previous 10 games, Varejao is averaging 17.4 rebounds per game. In the Cavs’ four wins, he’s at 18.8 rpg.
On top of that, Varejao is the Cavs’ top scorer (15.0 ppg) and arguably their best passer while Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters are sidelined with injuries.
We always knew Varejao had this type of potential. Even before this season, he was pretty good. But this year, man, he’s off the charts.
Then there’s Kevin Love. You remember him, don’t you?
He’s the Timberwolves power forward who compiled an NBA-record 53 consecutive double-doubles in points and rebounds last season.
Like Varejao, Love has great hands for a big man and a real nose for the ball. Love is a more reliable scorer, the defending three-point shooting champion, and perhaps the game’s best all-around power forward.
Love has played in just eight games this season, but he’s picking up right where left off — with averages of 19.4 points and 14.4 rebounds. In time, you can be sure those numbers will get even better.
Varejao and Love don’t play the same position (Varejao is the Cavs’ center), but there will certainly be moments Friday when they’re in each other’s path. And regardless of who defends whom, Varejao and Love will be chasing down the same missed shots.
The Cavs (4-15) are struggling to find points, or win games, without the league’s highest scoring backcourt (Irving and Waiters). The Wolves (8-9) are coming around slowly, but they’ve also suffered their fair share of injuries.
Both teams are a couple years away, as they say.
But Varejao and Love are hot today, and the fact both will be on the floor tonight makes this a game worth watching.
Target Center, Minneapolis
8 p.m. EST
FOX Sports Ohio HD (Cavaliers Live pre-game show begins at 7:30 p.m.)
Cleveland – WTAM-1100 AM (broadcast begins at 7:30 p.m.)
C – Anderson Varejao; PF – Tristan Thompson; SF – Alonzo Gee; SG – Daniel Gibson; PG – Jeremy Pargo. Coach: Byron Scott.
C – Nikola Pekovic; PF – Kevin Love; SF – Andrei Kirilenko; SG – Malcolm Lee; PG – Luke Ridnour. Coach: Rick Adelman.
Kirilenko (back) returns for the T-Wolves after missing the previous four games. … Waiters remains out for the Cavs with an ankle sprain. He is also doubtful for Saturday’s home game vs. Detroit. … The Cavs have grabbed at least 10 offensive rebounds in 13 straight games, the second-longest streak in the NBA (behind Memphis). … The Wolves are 0-4 when scoring less than 90 points. … They are 7-3 when out-rebounding opponents. … Scott served as an assistant under Adelman for two seasons in Sacramento (1998-2000). … The Cavs lead the all-time series, 28-15.
Follow Sam Amico on Twitter @SamAmicoFSO