Heat notebook

Miami Heat’s LeBron James plays against Timberwolves after knee scare

 

grichards@MiamiHerald.com

LeBron James had his left knee checked out by a team doctor on Sunday night but there was little doubt he would play Monday night.

James, who has missed just three games since leaving Cleveland and none since his first season in Miami, was in against the Timberwolves as the Heat put its 14-game winning streak on the line at Target Center.

“His leg would have to fall off for him to miss a game,” Heat center Chris Bosh said of James. “I’ve seen him go down quite a few times. It’s a part of the game. You’re going to twist some ankles, twist some knees. You’re going to get bumped.

“You never want to see any of your guys go down. When you see it, you just hope they are OK and can function. If he can play, lets play.”

Coach Erik Spoelstra said before the game against the Timberwolves that the plan was for James to take warmups and see how the knee felt.

James landed awkwardly during the third quarter of Miami’s 99-93 victory over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Sunday afternoon. James finished the game — recording 29 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists — although he did seem to put attention on the knee.

“He responded pretty well from the flight and having some rest,” said Spoelstra, who gave his team Monday morning off after playing in New York the day before.

On Monday, James looked good as he participated in the Heat’s usual pregame dunk contest and scored 13 in the opening half as Miami went into the break up by 7.

“It’s going to take a lot to knock him out because that’s not something he wants to do," Dwyane Wade said. “If he has two legs working, two arms working, he’s out there. He’s built to withstand a lot. But we don’t take that for granted.”

Sweetest victory

Miami has some pretty impressive victories over the past couple of weeks as the Heat tied a franchise record by winning 14 consecutives games after coming back to beat the Knicks on Monday night.

The Heat came into Sunday’s game 0-2 against the Knicks this season and, as Wade said, it looked like Miami was going down that road again as the Heat trailed by as many as 16 points.

“It was great for us to win, it was a great road win,” Wade said. “They shot the ball very well and we had to come back from a 14-, 16-point deficit. I think it was our best win of the season to date because of what we overcame. They beat us twice by 20 and they were headed that way again.

“It’s great for the psyche because if we meet again, we can go back to that.”

The Heat’s comeback was its largest of the season and most since rallying to beat the Spurs after being down 17 points last season.

Miami hadn’t been down by 16 points or more on the road and won away from AmericanAirlines Arena since winning at Charlotte in 2009.

Bosh called Sunday’s victory the Heat’s favorite of the winning streak, “because of the way we failed to play them in the first two games. You never want to get embarrassed on your home floor — any floor — but we responded and came back. It wasn’t easy. We’re figuring out what works for us.”

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