KEVIN LOVE's first meeting with his former team wasn't packed with much emotion. LeBron James expects a much different reunion on Christmas.
Love scored 20 points in his first game against visiting Minnesota, Kyrie Irving added 29 and the Cleveland Cavaliers pulled away in the second half for a 125-104 victory over the Timberwolves last night, sending them on to James' holiday visit in Miami to play the Heat.
Love's matchup with the team he spent six frustrating seasons with before a summer blockbuster trade was overshadowed by an injury to Cleveland center Anderson Varejao, who had to be helped off the floor in the third quarter. Varejao was unable to put any weight on his left leg as he was assisted to the locker room.
The Cavs won't know more about Varejao's injury until today. He left Quicken Loans Arena on crutches with his leg in an immobilizing air cast.
James added 24 points for the Cavs, now 12-3 since opening 5-7.
Minnesota rookie Andrew Wiggins scored 27 against the team that drafted him as the Timberwolves lost their sixth straight and 12th in 13 games.
Love, who grabbed 10 rebounds and played much of the second half with his right thumb taped, said the matchup against the Timberwolves lacked passion.
"I didn't really feel much of anything to be honest with you," he said. "It felt like just another game. It was a game we felt like we needed to win before going to South Florida for Christmas."
In other games
* At Atlanta, DeMarre Carroll scored a career-high 25 points and the Hawks rallied from a 13-point deficit to beat the Los Angeles Clippers, 107-104, for their fifth straight victory.
* At Washington, Derrick Rose scored 25 points and Pau Gasol had 18 as the Chicago Bulls won their fourth straight, beating the Wizards, 99-91.
* At Oklahoma City, Damian Lillard scored 40 points, making a tying three-pointer with 3 seconds left in regulation, and the Portland Trail Blazers rallied from a 13-point, fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Thunder, 115-111. Lillard also had 11 assists.
* At Orlando, Tobias Harris scored 19 points and the Magic hung on to beat the Boston Celtics, 100-95.
* At Indianapolis, Indiana point guard George Hill made an impactful season debut, leading the Pacers (10-19) to a 96-84 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.
* At Brooklyn, Joe Johnson scored 27 points, Mason Plumlee added 19 points and a career-high 13 rebounds, and the Nets rallied in the fourth quarter to beat the Denver Nuggets, 102-96. Jarrett Jack, starting in place of injured point guard Deron Williams, had 17 points and eight assists.
* At Milwaukee, Kemba Walker scored 27 points and Gerald Henderson added 16 as Charlotte held off the Bucks, 108-101, extending its winning streak to a season-high four games.
* At Phoenix, Eric Bledsoe got his second career triple-double and the Suns won their fourth in a row, beating the Dallas Mavericks, 124-115, in the Suns' highest-scoring game of the season.
* Former Philadelphia Warrior Paul Walther, who played six seasons in the NBA in the 1950s after a stellar college career at Tennessee, has died at 87.