Wolves come up short versus HEAT 103-82

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Miami showed up in the Twin Cities tonight with a two game losing streak on their minds and missing swing-man Michael Beasley. The Wolves were short Kevin Love, and it showed on the boards: the backboard and the scoreboard as Miami won, 103-82.

First Quarter

Chris Bosh won the tip, as usual, to LeBron James. After each team turned the ball over once, Dwyane Wade opened the scoring with a shot from the right side. After a Wolves bucket, Mario Chalmers converted a three point play, and LeBron James put back a missed three pointer by Rio for a 7-4 lead. A scary moment ensued with 9:34 left in the quarter for the HEAT, when Nikola Pekovic elbowed Chris Bosh in the head. After collecting a rare offensive rebound, LBJ had to call an early time out while Bosh was taken to the dressing room. Wade made a short jumper, then Shane Battier sunk a corner three to put the HEAT up 12-4. After a Wolves bucket, LBJ drove the lane for a thunderous dunk and an eight point lead. After a four point Wolves run, Wade endured knee on knee contact with Kevin Martin, and crumpled to the court with 6:13 remaining. After a commercial time out, Wade remained in the game for 33 more seconds before heading to the bench. The Wolves spun off five straight points to take their first lead of the game, at 15-14 on a nine point run. Bosh returned to the bench just as Chris Andersen missed a dunk and made one of two free throws. After a Pekovic field goal and a running eight footer by the King, the score was 17-17. Luc Mbah a Moute made two free throws on a Battier foul, follwed by a Rashard Lewis bankshot to keep the game knotted at 19. Moute made one of his next two free throw attempts, then Rio missed a tricky layup, followed by a Kevin Martin three-point play to make it a four point Minnesota lead. Corey Brewer made two more free throws as Bosh returned to the game. The Birdman unloaded a baseline slam to interrupt the Wolves six point run. After rebounding a missed Wolves shot, Lewis nailed an 11-foot fallaway jumper from the right side. Pekovic had a shot blocked by the Birdman, and was whistled for a technical foul when he complained about it. Allen made the ensuing free throw. The teams traded missed field goal attempts through the rest of the quarter, which ended with the Wolves holding a tenous 25-24 lead. The Wolves had used four players in all 12 minutes, while the HEAT were already nine deep, with seven on the scoresheet. James led Miami with six points, four rebounds and three assists, while Kevin Martin had a game high 12 points.

Second Quarter

Wade put Miami back on top with a pair of free throws, then Kevin Martin stole the ball for an uncontested slam. Allen made a running layup (goaltending). After a few missed shots on both sides, Wade hit a cutting Allen for an easy layup. Minnesota missed another shot, then Wade put in a layup of his own, adding one on a free throw for a six point HEAT lead on a 14-2 run.After a TV timeout and another missed Minnesota shot, Wade hit a fadeaway 23 foot jumper to make it an eight point margin. Pekovic failed to break the HEAT's run, missing two foul shots before Dante Cunningham scored two on a jumper. Bosh rattled in a 19-footer after pressuring Pekovic into a missed layup. James made one-of-two free throws followed by a quick turnover for each team and a Moute layup to cut the lead back down to six, at 38-32. After another Moute layup, James knocked in a Bosh three-point miss, earning a rebound and two points in one motion. James dished to a cutting Chalmers for an easy lay-in before stealing an errant pass and driving straight to the hoop for two more and a 10 point HEAT lead. Moute missed a triple, and Rashard Lewis answered with a good one, making the lead 47-34 with four minutes left in the half. LBJ and Rio capitalized on an odd-man rush for two more. It's worth noting at this point that the King was more than halfway to a triple-double, with 11 points, seven boards and five helpers. The teams traded off two points each before a TV time out with 2:37 remaining in the half. After another bucket for the HEAT, the Wolves managed to string together six straight points to make it 53-42. Norris Cole held it for the last shot, and Bosh hit a layup with 5.5 seconds remaining. Rubio missed a corner three to close the half with a 55-42 deficit. James hit the locker room with a double-double already in the books, with 13 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists (with six turnovers, ick). After sustaining a possible injury in the first quarter, Bosh closed the half with six points and seven rebounds. Kevin Martin continued to lead Minnesota with 17 points.

Third Quarter

Pekovic started the third by converting a three point play. The HEAT turned the ball over again and Corey Brewer sunk a spinning turnaround jumper to cut the lead to eight. Pekovic made a layup before Chalmers finally got the HEAT onto the board with a two-point shot. LBJ took one the length of the court for his 14th and 15th points of the night. Brewer banked in a three, then Moute hit an uncontested 11-footer to make it 59-54. Wade missed a tentative 15-footer from the left side, but the Wolves missed three shots on their turn down the floor. Wade committed an offensive foul, allowing the Wolves another chance to extend their 13-2 run. Good ball movement for Miami led to a Wade slam dunk before Pekovic answered with an eight-foot turnaround. Wade made two more free throws to push the lead back out to seven at 63-56, then the HEAT pressured the Wolves into a shot clock violation. Bosh pulled up for a 16-footer from the left side, and Wade collected a rebound and threw the ball the length of the court to hit James under the basket for an easy layin and an 11-point HEAT lead. Pekovic made one of two free throws, and James sunk an easy layup before Pekovic walked while trying to avoid a shot-clock violation. On the ensuing possession, the HEAT displayed good ball movement but couldn't finish, as Bosh missed a 21-footer and James fumbled the rebound. Wade and James played catch on a fast break, finishing with a highlight-reel James dunk. James made an assist to a cutting Allen for a 16-point lead. Lewis rattled in a right-side corner three, and Corey Brewer salvaged it by hitting his own at the buzzer for a 76-60 deficit with 12 minutes left to play. James closed the quarter with 21 points, 14 boards and eight helpers to lead Miami. Wade had 15, and Lewis had 10 off the bench. Martin didn't score in the third period for Minnesota, but still led four Wolves in double figures with 17.

Fourth Quarter

Cunningham opened with a two for the Wolves, Allen answered with a 13-footer from the paint to keep the lead at 16. Cole and Martin traded missed three pointers, followed by Allen making two shots from the charity stripe. Cole collected a defensive rebound, then drove the entire floor for an easy lay in for a game high 20 point lead. JJ Barea made his first points of the night with two free throws, followed by a Wade turnaround jumper. The Birdman made an enthusiastic block, to Cole, who again drove from coast to coast for an easy layup and a 22 point lead. Neither team made their next shot, but Birdman scored with a rare 17-foot jumper to extend the lead back out to 88-66. He tipped one in next time down the court too. With 6:44 remaining, the HEAT still had a few of their starters in the game, including Wade for some reason. Birdman made another slam after a pair of free throws for the Wolves, followed by an ill-advised three point attempt. Birdman missed two free ones, but Wade stole it on the other side of the floor and drove for a slam in transition. Andersen made another block, Udonis Haslem got into the action with four minutes left, along with Roger Mason Jr. and James Jones. After a five point Wolves run, Mason nailed a straightaway three pointer. Robbie Hummel made two three-pointers for Minnesota as the game was already decided.

Takeaways

  • Miami outrebounded the Wolves by a wide margin in the first half, and finished with a slim 45-44 deficit.
  • Although it was in garbage time, Roger Mason Jr. looked good, hitting four-of-five shots for nine points in just 4:33.
  • Udonis Haslem didn't record a single positive statistic in his 4:33, although I did see him fighting for two rebounds before he committed a foul.
  • James came up short in his quest for his first triple-double of the season, but a 21/14/8 night would be considered above average for anyone else.
  • After being invisible for much of the first half, Chris Andersen was a spirited force in the beginning and middle parts of the fourth quarter, making every shot but a three point attempt and finishing with four rebounds and three blocks.
  • Norris Cole missed most of his shots, but seems to have a gear that noone else possesses. He scored four with four assists and three rebounds, finishing with a team best plus-22 rating.
  • Shane Battier didn't seem like the Battier of old, making one-of-six shots with a board, a dime, two blocked shots and three fouls in 18 minutes. Despite his diminishing returns, with two more blocks he will move past Roy Hinson into the NBA's all-time 100 top shot blockers.
  • Miami hadn't scored in triple digits in five straight outings before this one. They had accomplished the feat in 13 of their first 14 contests this season.
Check out Canis Hoopus for more on the Wolves.

Next up

The HEAT will visit the Pistons in Detroit tomorrow night to try to avenge a loss suffered last week at the AA Arena. They'll go on to play the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night at Conseco Fieldhouse.

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