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Heat slip in second half, lose to Timberwolves 113-104

Miami loses for the second time in three games after another late meltdown.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Miami Heat Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images

The Miami Heat’s valiant bench effort was not enough Saturday evening, as a second-half comeback from the Minnesota Timberwolves fueled their 113-104 victory over the Heat.

Miami’s now fallen in two of their last three home games after winning 17 of their previous 20 at FTX Arena. Both teams were on the second night of a back-to-back; the Heat drop to 4-8 in such games, while Minnesota improves to 6-7.

The Wolves, once down 17 in the first half, rallied back to take the three-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. They outscored Miami 16-4 over the final 5:08 of the fourth quarter, which featured six lead changes and four ties.

The Heat began the contest slow; in contrast to their 9-0 start Friday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, they began the evening behind 9-0. After missing 10 of their first 11 triples, four straight made 3s — two apiece from Tyler Herro and Max Strus — sparked a 16-2 run that gave Miami a seven-point lead with 5:16 remaining in the first half.

The aforementioned duo spearheaded a Heat bench that combined to score 35 of the team’s 42 second-quarter points (!!!), heading into the break up 67-55. Herro (18 2Q points) and Strus (12) outscored the Timberwolves 30-25 in the quarter alone.

The Wolves subsequently responded by outscoring their counterpart 34-19 in the third quarter — canning eight of their 16 triples — to take the 89-86 lead. Both teams’ offense bogged down in the final period — both sporting field goal percentages of 30.0 percent or below in the respective period.

But Miami, who shot 39.8 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from distance on the evening, missed eight of its final shots over that final 5:08 span compared to Minnesota’s 4-for-8 mark — ultimately the difference in the game.

Herro tallied a team-high 30 points — his seventh 30-point game on the season and his third over his seven games — on 8-of-19 shooting, including 6-of-10 from beyond the arc. Strus and Bam Adebayo both recorded 19 points apiece. Strus knocked down five 3-pointers (on 11 attempts) with seven rebounds; Adebayo went 7-for-12 on the evening with 12 boards, four assists and three steals.

Kyle Lowry, who strangely attempted just 10 combined field goal attempts over his previous three games, had 14 points on 4-of-12 shooting with seven boards and seven assists. In his first game back after a 58-game absence, Markieff Morris had six points on 3-of-7 shooting in 17 minutes off the bench.

The Wolves, who had eight double figure scorers, knocked down 42.2 percent of their attempts — including 35.7 percent from distance.

No Minnesota player had more than 16 points. Nowell led with 16 on 5-of-13 shooting; Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns — who battled foul trouble for the majority of the game — had 15 points apiece (KAT added 10 boards, too); Jaden McDaniels and D’Angelo Russell both added 14 points with Russell adding nine assists; Malik Beasley had 12 points and a team-high four 3s while Naz Reid and Taurean Prince had 11 each.

If you were to cut Miami’s 40 bench points in first half — you would’ve gotten the correct total of what the bench had in the second. Collectively, Miami shot 34.1 percent — including a dreadful 6-of-25 (25 percent) from deep — in the game’s final 24 minutes. Conversely, 10 of Minnesota’s 18 made field goals were from beyond the arc at a 40.0 percent clip, outscoring them by 21 in the half.

The Heat also doubled its first half turnover total (6) in the final 24 minutes with 12 — including five in the final period — adding up to 16 second-half Minnesota points-off-turnovers (20 total); Miami had 25 points off 14 turnovers, though 21 of the 25 came in the first half.

Next up: The Heat continue their long homestand against the Detroit Pistons, who are 6-4 in their last 10, on Tuesday, March 15 at 7:30 ET. The Heat are 2-1 against the Pistons this season.