for this game

A Love-ly return to Minnesota

Jan 31, 2015 - 3:07 PM ( - Kevin Love returns to Minnesota on Saturday night when his new team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, faces his old one, the Timberwolves, at the Target Center.

"The thing I don't want to do is make it about myself," Love said. "I know that there's going to be a lot of hoopla and talk about it. But the best thing we can do is continue to keep playing winning basketball."

Love spent the first six seasons of his career in a Timberwolves jersey. Unhappy with his contract and having never made the playoffs, Love asked to be traded this past offseason and the Wolves got the last two No. 1 overall picks, Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett, in the deal.

Love made three All-Star games with Minnesota, but he's under no allusions about the response he'll get on Saturday.

"Booooooooo," Love joked after shootaround Friday.

The Timberwolves fired the first "shot." The team released a promotional video called "#TheReturn," which turned out to be about Cavs' teammate Mike Miller, who played one season in Minnesota.

Love took the joke in stride.

The Cavs are one of the hottest teams in the league, the winners of nine straight. They haven't lost since Jan. 13 in Phoenix and have taken three straight on the road.

On Friday, Cleveland welcomed back LeBron James, a man himself who knows something about difficult returns to scorned former homes, in a 101-90 home victory over the Sacramento Kings.

James missed the previous game with a wrist injury and scored 19 points versus Sacramento. Love had 23 points and 10 rebounds and Kyrie Irving scored 21 points with six assists. Irving carried the load offensively in Cleveland's win over Portland on Wednesday, netting a career-high 55 of the team's 99 points.

James also contributed seven assists and four steals, and J.R. Smith added 16 points.

"It feels okay. A little sore obviously, but it feels good," said James. "I do whatever it takes to help us win. I just try to get guys involved, pick my spots."

The Timberwolves have lost six of their last seven, including a 103-94 setback to the Philadelphia 76ers Friday night in the City of Brotherly Love.

Kevin Martin had 19 points, Nikola Pekovic tallied 18 points with seven rebounds and Gorgui Dieng posted 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who looked to win two straight games for the first time this season.

Minnesota went scoreless for the final two minutes of the third and did not register a point until Martin made a free throw 3:18 into the fourth.

Andrew Wiggins then scored five straight points as part of a 7-0 burst for the Timberwolves to cut the deficit to three with under seven minutes left. The Sixers did enough to win.

"We turned the ball over a lot. We didn't show patience when we needed to," Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders said.

Minnesota committed 21 turnovers.

The Cavaliers beat the Timberwolves by 21 in Cleveland on Dec. 23 and the teams have split the last 10 meetings. The T-wolves are 3-1 in their last four over Cleveland as the host.