Cleveland Cavaliers defeat Minnesota Timberwolves, 104-87

LeBron James arrives early this season for his lone Target Center appearance, tonight against the Timberwolves.

And this time, for the first time, he's bringing Shaquille O'Neal with him.

Such special occasions sometimes require new approaches, which is why Wolves coach Kurt Rambis plans to introduce newly acquired Nathan Jawai 10 days after he was obtained from Dallas in a bit of salary-cap bookkeeping.

The Wolves traded a very conditional future second-round pic...

Target Center on Friday offered that classic sports matchup: The Unstoppable Force and the Wafer-Thin Object.

LeBron James, making his only appearance in Minnesota until the NBA Finals, was forced to contend with the stiletto-like limbs of Corey Brewer all night. James offered further evidence that he is the greatest athlete ever to play basketball, surviving Brewer's nudges to compile 24 points, nine rebounds and six assists in 33 minutes in Cleveland's 104-87 victory....

The Timberwolves conjured magic in their season opener on Wednesday, when they recovered from 16 points behind with fewer than seven minutes left to beat New Jersey on Damien Wilkins' buzzer beater.

Of course, LeBron James wasn't in the house that night.

Neither was Shaquille O'Neal nor the Cleveland Cavaliers, who on Friday received what TNT analyst Charles Barkley called the perfect "elixir" for their unexpected 0-2 season start:

A date with a Timberwolves team ...