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NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Cleveland Cavaliers

If the Minnesota Timberwolves had lost on Sunday, they might’ve just packed up for the season and gone home. Seemingly already clinging to life amid a listless start to the year, the Wolves led the Cavaliers, who were playing without Donovan Mitchell and Jarrett Allen, by as many as 24 and held a 22-point advantage with under 10 minutes to play. 

That’s when Darius Garland happened, scoring 29 of his NBA season-high 51 points over the final nine minutes and change of the fourth quarter. Garland was out of his mind, pulling the Cavs all the way back to within two with 32 seconds to play with this sprint-and-stop 3-pointer. 

But that was as close as Cleveland would get. Minnesota escaped, 129-124. Garland, who hit 10 of 15 3-pointers, is the first player to hit the 50-point mark this season, and he joins LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Walt Wesley as the fourth player in Cavs franchise history to do so.  

With his final line of 51 points, six assists and 10 made 3s, Garland is now on a list that includes just six names in history. 

Pretty good company for Garland, who was a first-time All-Star last season and is one of the toughest pick-and-roll covers in the league. If you go over the screen, he has a terrific floater going downhill. If you go under the screen, you’re playing with fire thanks to his ability to pull up for a 3 off the dribble. The Cavs , now 8-5, have dropped two straight after falling to the Warriors on Friday on the final game of their west-coast road trip.