It wasn't as easy as past trips to Minnesota have been, but the Miami Heat was able to withstand the new-look Timberwolves and come away with another last second victory. Once again it was Dwyane Wade putting in the game-winner, this time coming on a stolen play that led to a Heat defeat last season. The Boston Celtics beat Miami on an ally-oop inbound pass to Rajon Rondo, and last night the Heat did the same thing, with LeBron James tossing the ball from the sideline right to a streaking D-Wade, who caught the ball in mid-air and dropped it in the basket with 4.9 seconds left.
Wade wasn't playing at 100%, suffering from a sore left foot, but he still led the Heat in minutes with 38 and scored 19 points, including several big buckets in the 4th quarter. It was probably a closer game then some Heat fans expected, but the Timberwolves are a team on the rise. During a postgame interview, D-Wade acknowledged just that:
"I'm glad we played them early because later they're going to be trouble. So I think Timberwolves fans will have something to cheer about for a while here."
Rookie point guard Ricky Rubio and forward Kevin Love are the centerpieces in a franchise that won't be kept out of the playoffs much longer. Their 7-year postseason drought might not end this season, but there are a lot of people out there who wouldn't be surprised if it did. The young talent on their roster is unmistakable and like the Heat last season, will only get better as time goes by. That bodes well for Miami as this was the one and only meeting between the two teams this season.
- Ricky Rubio finished with 12 points, 12 assists and 6 rebounds. He hit both of his 3-point attempts.
- Norris Cole capitalized on Mario Chalmers foul trouble, as the rookie played 30 minutes to Rio's 15.
- Cole finished with 12 points and 4 assists while Chalmers came away with 9 points and 5 assists. All of Rio's points came on 3-pointers as he went 3-of-4 from downtown.
- Chris Bosh has been quietly amazing this season. He has been consistently good, especially in clutch moments. Last night he had another solid effort, finishing with 20 points, 9 boards, 4 assists, a steal and a blocked shot.
- Then there's the birthday boy, LeBron James. He came just two rebounds away from a triple-double last night, finishing with 34 points, 8 rebounds, 10 assists and a game-high 4 steals. LeBron is now averaging 33.0 points per game this season.
- Michael Beasley and Darko Milicic were equally unimpressive. They combined to score 7 points on 3-of-9 shooting and had little impact on the game.
Next up for the Heat will be a tough stretch of 4 games in 5 nights, beginning with back-to-back home games against division opponents. Sunday at 6 against Charlotte and Monday at 7:30 against Atlanta.