CLEVELAND (AFP) - Kevin Love scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds against his former National Basketball Association club on Tuesday as Cleveland ripped apart Minnesota 125-104, but an injury to Anderson Varejao dimmed any celebrations.
The 32-year-old Brazilian big man suffered a left foot and ankle injury with 7:24 remaining in the third quarter. He had to be helped off the court after collapsing under the basket.
Losing Varejao would be a major setback for the Cavaliers, who improved to 17-10 with their 12th win in 15 games. The team have started to come together after adding four-time Most Valuable Player LeBron James and Love in a trade with Minnesota to a line-up that includes Australian guard Kyrie Irving.
Irving scored 29 points and James added 24 for Cleveland, while Love dominated in his first meeting with the Timberwolves, the team where he spent his first six NBA seasons before joining the Cavaliers this year.
Love suffered a thumb injury in the third quarter but had it taped and returned to the line-up later in the period.
The trade for Love netted Minnesota the top players picked in the past two NBA drafts - Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett. Wiggins scored 27 to pace Minnesota while Bennett did not manage a point.
Senegalese centre Gorgui Dieng added a season-high 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who lost their sixth game in a row and 12th in 13 starts in falling to 5-22 on the season.
Continuing the theme of facing former team-mates, Cleveland will next face Miami on Thursday, the first chance for James to play a regular-season game at Miami against his former club, including Heat stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.