All-Star point guard Darius Garland scored an NBA season-high 51 points in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, 129-124, on Sunday night.
Garland scored 27 of his career-best point total — and made six of his career-best 10 3-pointers — in the fourth quarter for the Cavaliers, who trailed 99-75 late in the third.
D’Angelo Russell had season highs of 30 points and 12 assists and Karl-Anthony Towns scored 29 points to help the Timberwolves overcome Garland’s onslaught.
Garland’s 51 surpassed the previous season high set by Ja Morant, who had 49 points for Memphis against Houston on Oct. 21.
The Cavaliers, who lost their fourth in a row, played without injured All-Stars Donovan Mitchell and Jarrett Allen. Mitchell was sidelined with a sprained right ankle, while Allen sat out with a sore left ankle.
Garland made two free throws with 8.3 seconds left to pull Cleveland within 126-124, but Russell made it 127-124 from the foul line. Kevin Love threw away the subsequent inbounds pass and Taurean Prince made two free throws to lock up the win.
Russell made 11 of 13 shots, including 4 of 5 3-pointers, and Towns grabbed 13 rebounds for Minnesota, which snapped a three-game losing streak. Prince had 19 points off the bench and Rudy Gobert added 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Lamar Stevens had 15 points, Evan Mobley grabbed 13 rebounds and Love had 14 points for the Cavaliers. Cleveland lost at home for the first time in five games this season.
The Cavaliers had just 11 players in uniform, including two-way forwards Mamadi Diakite and Isaiah Mobley.
Timberwolves G D’Angelo Russell shot .377 from the field over the first 13 games and is averaging less than 15.0 points for the first time since his rookie season of 2015-2016.
Coach Chris Finch said Russell’s lack of production is a concern, but is not considering moving him out of the starting lineup.
“We’re not going anywhere without D-Lo playing at a much better level for us, but he had kind of a slow start last season, too,” Finch said. “I see his shooting struggles more related to hesitancy, not anything related to his role.”
Timberwolves: C Naz Reid (illness) missed his second straight game. F Josh Minott and G Wendell Moore Jr. are on G League assignments with Iowa. … Two-way F Luka Garza traveled with the Timberwolves.
Cavaliers: F Dean Wade (right knee soreness) missed his second game in a row. F Dylan Windler (right ankle sprain) and G Ricky Rubio (left knee surgery) have not played this season.
Brian Dulik, writer for The Associated Press, authored this story.