Heat 103, Timberwolves 82

Miami Heat rebounds, rolls past Timberwolves

 

LeBron James had 21 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists in just 30 minutes to help Miami rout Minnesota.

 
 <span class="cutline_leadin">excuse me: </span>Heat forward LeBron James tries to drive around Timberwolves forward Dante Cunningham on Saturday night.
excuse me: Heat forward LeBron James tries to drive around Timberwolves forward Dante Cunningham on Saturday night.
Ann Heisenfelt / AP
WEB VOTE Should the Heat go ahead and pursue backcourt help as has been rumored with star Dwyane Wade ailing?

jgoodman@MiamiHerald.com

LeBron James said before the game that he needed to rebound the basketball a little better. He then set a season high for boards in the first half.

With James clearly more engaged Saturday than in recent losses to Detroit and Chicago, the Heat defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 103-82 at Target Center. The Heat plays the Pistons on Sunday before flying to Indianapolis for its highly anticipated showdown with the Pacers.

With the biggest game of the early season only a few days away, the Heat wanted to get its rhythm back in Minneapolis, and it helped that Timberwolves forward Kevin Love did not play because of a death in his family. With Love absent, the Heat was only outrebounded by one (45-44), and James finished two assists shy of his first triple-double of the season. James had 21 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists in just 30 minutes after having 13 points, 10 rebounds and six assists at halftime.

“That’s the LeBron James I know,” said Dwyane Wade, whose assist to James off the backboard on a fast-break, alley-oop offered a little warmth to this cold-weather city on a day the thermometer reached down to minus-8 degrees.

The stat-stuffing first half came after James had just 10 total rebounds in his previous two games. James’ 10 rebounds in the first half Saturday were one more than his previous season high for a game.

“We definitely didn’t want to lose three in a row, so it was a good pick-up game after the loss to Chicago, and we did what we wanted to do besides turning the ball over,” James said.

The Heat (15-5) won by 21 points despite 20 turnovers and scored at least 100 points for the first time in six games. It was the longest stretch of games without at least 100 points in a game for the Heat since March of 2011. The Timberwolves (9-11) shot 29.3 percent (24 for 82) from the field, which was a franchise low.

After abysmal shooting last week, Miami returned to its efficient ways against the Timberwolves, going 43 for 78 from the field. The Heat shot 55.1 percent despite going just 4 of 18 from the three-point arc. Wade, who sat out against the Bulls, had 19 points, going 7 of 14 from the field and 5 of 5 from the free-throw line. He played deep into the fourth quarter despite aggravating his right knee injury in the first quarter.

“It was knee to knee,” said Wade, who collided with Timberwolves guard Kevin Martin. “I have no idea how it happened. He was in front of me, but since it’s sensitive there, it took awhile to come back, but I was able to continue.”

Wade isn’t expected to play against Detroit on Sunday and most likely will rest his knees for the big game against the Pacers on Tuesday.

“I’m just going to see how I feel and try to be smart,” Wade said. “I want to play so bad … but I’m going to leave it in the trainers’ and coaches’ hands right now. Sometimes you have to take it out of the player’s hands.”

It was a painful first period for the Heat. In addition to Wade’s incident, Chris Bosh went to the locker room after Shane Battier’s fist inadvertently socked Bosh in the right eye. He returned to finish the game and had eight points and nine rebounds in 23 minutes.

“I just saw a bright fist coming at me,” said Bosh, whose eye was bloodshot after the game. “I don’t have a scratch though. I’ve been hit in the eye so many times, not to have a scratch, that’s all I’m worried about.”

A good sign with the Pacers looming, the Heat’s energy statistics were all above average against the short-handed Timberwolves. Miami had 13 offensive rebounds to go along with 24 fastbreak points and 56 points in the paint.

The Heat’s bench was productive despite Michael Beasley sitting out with a sore hamstring. Back in a reserve role, Ray Allen had 11 points and Rashard Lewis scored 10 and accounted for half of the Heat’s three-pointers. He was 2 of 4 from three-point range.

Martin led the Timberwolves with 19 points, and hulking center Nikola Pekovic had 18 points and 12 rebounds.

A three-pointer by Lewis with 17 seconds left in the third quarter gave the Heat a 19-point lead.

But Corey Brewer, the two-time NCAA champion from the University of Florida, answered with a three-pointer at the buzzer to keep the Timberwolves within reach. That didn’t last long.

Read more Miami Heat stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">An easier time:</span> Chris Bosh, left, and his Heat teammates rejoice after winning the second game of last season’s first-round playoff series against the Bucks. They said the Bobcats are a bigger test.

    Series preview

    Miami Heat expects dogfight from Bobcats

    Even if the Heat appears to be in a different class than the Bobcats, the players aren’t preparing as though they are

  •  
Charlotte Bobcats' Al Jefferson, left, drives past Miami Heat's Shane Battier, right, to dunk during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014.

    In My Opinion

    Miami Heat sweep would challenge rosy outlook by Bobcats’ Al Jefferson

    I think that Charlotte Bobcats center Al Jefferson, not a star in the NBA but a good player, must lead the league in seeing the bright side, in trying to find the best in a bad situation. This talent figures to come in particularly handy in the next week-plus as his hopeless underdogs try to avert being swept in four games by the two-time, defending-champion Heat.

  •  
Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, left, and center Chris Bosh watch from the bench during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Wednesday, April 16, 2014 in Miami. The 76ers defeated the Heat 100-87.

    IN MY OPINION

    Greg Cote: Miami Heat odyssey this time could be dynasty or dismantled

    The Heat on a playoff run is the annual gift we slowly unwrap together, our two-month emotional thrill ride ever since LeBron James grandly announced he was “taking my talents to South Beach” that summer night in 2010. Well, buckle up again, South Florida. Prepare for exhilarating highs and work-productivity lows. Prepare for late nights walking drained from the downtown bayside arena. Prepare for hearts to soar or plunge on whether a basketball swishes through a nylon net or bonks off a painted rim.

Get your Miami Heat Fan Gear!

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category