I didn't start watching the game until the beginning of the 2nd quarter, and I was pretty appalled that the Heat scored just 15 points. Then they kicked off the quarter with a Dorell Wright airball on a pretty blah possession. So yeah, I was ready to watch some basketball. I loved seeing James Jones out there, especially when he stopped a Minnesota 10-0 run with a luscious triple.
That sparked an 11-2 run for Miami, getting them back within single digits of the T-Wolves. With about 3 minutes left in the half, Dorell Wright had perhaps the best dunk of his career. He flew through the air after an offensive rebound, and with one hand he reached way back and grabbed the Daequan Cook miss and slammed it home. I don't think anyone celebrated more then D-Wright's boy, D-Wade.
Wright was instrumental in the Heat's 2nd quarter comeback, scoring 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting in 15 first half minutes, with 10 of those points coming in the 2nd. Miami closed out the half on a 26-7 run, turning what was at one point a 17-point deficit into just being down by 4 at the half.
It took the Heat all of 67 seconds to complete their comeback, taking the lead for the first time since it was 2-0. The lead didn't last very long, but at least the Heat were right back in the game. They just couldn't get anything going offensively for most of the quarter, missing several open shots. Leading the way was Super Cool, who started 1-of-8 and was at 3-of-15 when the 3rd quarter ended. As a team Miami missed 10 of their last 11 shots, and after holding a brief lead they went into the 4th quarter down by 10.
Minnesota kept their foot on the gas, and after scoring the first two buckets of the final quarter were on a 15-2 run that had started when the Heat took their 1st lead of the 2nd half. Coming out of a Heat timeout, Dorell Wright briefly caught fire. He hit a trey on the Heat's ensuing possession, then after a nice steal for a score by Rio, Wright again hit a triple that capped an 8-0 Heat run.
Unfortunately, the Wolves came right back with an 8-0 run of their own, putting the Heat back down by 14. A rare 4-point play by Mario Chalmers would have been a nice spark, but every offensive possession looked pretty bad. Nobody was moving without the ball, making it very difficult for Rio to find open players. Also, I don't really care about how poor of a shooting night Beasley was having, but something about Chalmers not giving Beasley the ball when he asks for it bothers me.
Rio was having a great 4th quarter though, scoring 8 of his 9 points at that point. For the 2nd time in the quarter, Minnesota fouled a Heat player shooting a three. This time it was Q, who was shaken up by the foul but stayed in the game long enough to hit all 3 of the foul shots before being replaced by Daequan Cook. That proved to be a wise move as Cook drilled a big jumper to bring the Heat to within 3 points with about 1:40 left in the game.
Michael Beasley had a beautiful tip-in off a J-O miss with just under a minute left, but rookie Johnny Flynn, who had made several blunders in the 4th quarter, scored on a nice drive to put the Wolves back up by 3 with 38 seconds left. Miami would get a big miss by Flynn with under 10 seconds left, but a long rebound would go to Minnesota. Adding insult to injury, the Heat were not in the penalty so the foul with 1.7 seconds left would just mean that the Timberwolves would take the ball out on the side, taking more time off the clock.
Chalmers almost got a steal off the inbound pass, but only .6 of a second came off the clock after the foul, leaving Miami with 1.1 left and down by 3 after Ellington hit both freebies. Dorell Wright, who had already made 5 triples, would inbound the ball. Daequan Cook would take the shot, but it wasn't the best looking jumper and the ball would clank off the back iron. The play was designed for Cook, but Mario Chalmers was wide open in the corner and probably would've had a better look at the rim.
What killed this game for the Heat was the way they came out of the locker room for both the beginning of the game and the beginning of the 2nd half. 15 and 17 points in those two quarters proved to be too little to survive, as the Heat would get outscored by 15-points in the combined 1st and 3rd.
This game was the best one in the not-so-short career of Dorell Wright. He scored a career-high (and team leading) 26 points on 9-of-11 shooting, including an amazing 6-of-7 from beyond the arc. He also had 7 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 steals and an assist, and he also hit both of his free throws, bringing his season total to 35-of-37 from the charity stripe. That's 94.6%, for those of you wondering.
It's become well known that Erik Spoelstra puts a big emphasis on getting off to a good start, always looking at if his team is ‘mentally into the game'. Obviously tonight they were not. Said Spoelstra:
"With what we have at stake, and that's not any disrespect to Minnesota, it's a shame and I could not be more disappointed with that effort or focus to come into tonight. Give Minnesota credit for coming in here and kicking our tails all over the place. They deserved that. They came in like they had more urgency or desperation to their season and it's really disgraceful that it came down to that,"
And in case you were wondering...Said Beasley:
"We can't just start off lackadaisical and get down by 17 points in the first half and expect to just climb back when we decide to play. Collectively as a team, there was no energy, no passion. We just didn't come tonight."
- Jermaine O'Neal was the Heat's most productive starter, scoring 18 points and grabbing 6 boards to go along with 3 assists and 3 blocked shots. J-O reached a milestone in the 2nd quarter when he surpassed the 12,000-point mark.
- Also reaching a milestone was Super Cool, who hit 2,000 points during the 3rd quarter. Beasley had a very tough game, hitting on just 5 of his 18 shots. He didn't let the poor shooting effect the rest of this game though, finishing with 9 boards, 2 assists, 4 steals and 2 blocked shots. It was a very mature ‘poor shooting' game for Beas, a good sign in his professional progress.
- The 15 points scored by the Heat in the 1st quarter was a season-low.
- As a team, Miami blocked 7 shots in the 1st half. They finished with 12.
- Udonis Haslem is having a rough time lately, and it started when D-Wade got injured. If you take away the 8 points he scored in overtime against Memphis, then he would have scored 3, 2, 8, and 2 points in the 4 games Wade hasn't played in (including the game in Jersey that he was hurt in). In those games his shooting hasn't been bad, but he hasn't shot the ball much, hitting on 10-of-22 from the field.
- Adding insult to injury, Minnesota turned the ball over 20 times and the Heat still couldn't win. Ouch, baby.
Oh well...that's two straight losses for the streaky Heat. It was just the 5th road victory for Minnesota, but some of those wins came in Dallas, Denver and Utah. Miami would now get several days off before hosting Milwaukee on Saturday, a game that I think I'm actually going to go to! I have only been able to make it out to a few games this season so I'm pretty excited to get out to the Heat's house.