Karl-Anthony Towns had his way against Hassan Whiteside and Bam Adebayo throughout the game, ending up with a dominating 34 points, 18 rebounds, seven assists and six blocks. He saved the best for last in the fourth quarter, single-handedly saving the night for the Timberwolves with a series of impressive plays to keep the Heat from stealing the game after cutting the lead to two points.
Miami could have used Dion Waiters tonight, lacking a go-to scorer during the final stretch when the team desperately needed baskets to keep pace with Towns. Dwyane Wade scored 21 to lead the team, but Justise Winslow struggled from the field and badly missed a pair of 3-pointers late in the game that would have helped close the gap. Josh Richardson added 17 points and Derrick Jones Jr. had another impactful game with 16 points and nine rebounds but there simply wasn’t enough to counter Towns’ production and Minnesota’s total team effort, with all five starters scoring in double-figures.
The Heat played from behind for virtually the entire game after missing their first eight shots, leading just once briefly, and yielded 24 points to Minnesota off of 19 turnovers — most of them seemingly unforced. The Heat’s defense at times resembled some of their weaker efforts earlier this season when they were losing games in bunches.
Still, the team has shown they can play well after rebounding from a poor game, and they have an excellent opportunity to put this loss behind them and turn the page for the new year with a highly winnable game on the road against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday.