By T.J. ZUPPE, 92.3 The Fan

CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – It is not often possible to take many positives away from a team nearly blowing a 23-point lead. But Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown is trying to keep it all in perspective.

Fresh off of handing the Minnesota Timberwolves their first loss of the young season – and narrowly avoiding giving the game up late – Brown wanted to focus on a glass half full mentality in the 93-92 victory on Monday night.

“I’m excited that our guys just found a way to get a win and they got that win on the defensive end of the floor by getting a stop when it counted,” Brown said.

Of course, Brown’s focus on the defensive end does not shock anyone. He was brought back to Cleveland to bring a defensive identity to a young basketball team. And it was that end of the floor he choose to put under the microscope after the game.

“Before tonight’s game, we were seventh in team defense or tied for sixth,” Brown said. “Last year, we were 30th. And this is probably one of the hottest teams in the league coming in… They’re shooting 32.6%.

“Because we need to learn, we have a lot of learning to do, we had a three hour shoot around today. For them to go through that mental preparation, physical preparation for tonight’s game and then play a hot Timberwolves team like that and try to go out and execute, I take my hat off to the group.”

Still, allowing Minnesota to creep back into the game was not a pleasant situation. It seemed as if the team shut it down and assumed the victory was well in hand.

Brown had another theory.

“Not all guys, but maybe some guys tensed up, I don’t know,” Brown said “Maybe some guys started watching the clock. There’s not one thing I can pinpoint it to.”

Still, the Cavs head coach spun it in the direction of the most important element – the bottom line.

“We found a way to win,” Brown said. “I don’t know how many times this group has been put in this situation against a pretty good team. There were times from watching the tape this summer, when I watched them last year, that this would have been a loss, possibly… We just kept scrapping and scrapping.

If Monday was about the young group learning a valuable lesson in finishing games, let’s hope they will not need to repeat the lesson.

Twitter @TJZuppe

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