Cleveland Dante Exum has arrived!
In just his sixth game in a Cavalier uniform, the Aussie point guard turned in the best game of his career, scoring 28 points in just 24 minutes of action in their 118-103 home loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
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Exum was a man on a mission, attacking the rim at will, using his blinding speed to penetrate the Timberwolves defence as he caught his offensive rhythm in the second half.
He shot an efficient 11-of-13 from the field and more impressively 4-of-4 from the three-point line, adding three rebounds, and two assists.
After trailing by 25 points (90-65) in the third quarter, Exum caught fire to power the Cavs back into the game, capping a 32-6 run with a three-pointer to give them a 97-96 lead with 8:29 remaining in the fourth.
Dante Exum (career-high 28 PTS) is up to 24 PTS in the 2nd half. @cavs 97@Timberwolves 99 pic.twitter.com/6BXmfeGQBS- NBA (@NBA) January 6, 2020
He came out of the game with 6:44 remaining with the Cavs down three and by the time he returned, they were down eight with 4:14 to go as the Wolves sealed the win with a 14-0 run powered by Gorgui Dieng.
Just look at the impact Exum had on both sides of the floor for the Cavs tonight:
Dante Exum (24 minutes) vs Timberwolves
|OFF RTG||DEF RTG||NET RTG|
|Exum on court||117.6||101.9||+15.7|
|Exum off court||84.3||127.5||-43.2|
Exum's previous career-high was 22, which came for the Jazz in 2017. Tonight, he scored 24 of his 28 points in the second half alone.
"I think just going out there, I just took my shots, I was very efficient and that's the shots I can do once I get in there and it's just about making them," Exum said post-game. "I've been practicing for a while and definitely the three-pointers been something I've been working on for a while."
Big night for @daanteee!- FOX Sports Cleveland (@FOXSportsCLE) January 6, 2020
Exum scores a career-high 28 points as he almost leads the @cavs to a comeback victory! pic.twitter.com/6bO7uS7YZo
"Everyone just had a will to win. We saw that we weren't playing to well and that we could bring it back. I started hitting shots and everyone was like 'alright we can do this'. It was disappointing that we couldn't hang on but it was a good team effort and I feel like we're going in the right direction."
Collin Sexton finished with 19 points on the night, while Ante Zizic added 15 points and 12 rebounds off the bench as they fall to 10-26 on the season.
Gorgui Dieng led the charge for the Timberwolves with 22 points, while Shabazz Napier had 21. Robert Covington and Andrew Wiggins scored 15 points apiece as the Timberwolves move to 14-21 on the season.