Well, that was fun. The Miami Heat visited the Twin Cities and left with another victory, their 15th win in a row this season. The Timberwolves brought a lot of effort but their shorthanded staff really hurt Monday night and honestly, no one should really be surprised. Here is how the game transpired.
The Pups were still without Pekovic and Kirilenko – to go along with the ‘regulars’ who have missed significant time this season. The starting five for the Wolves was the same from Saturday night in Portland and included Rubio, Ridnour, Gelabale, Williams, and Stiemsma. No surprises from the Heat, who opened up with Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh.
The game got off to slow start offensively. Going into the first timeout of the game, the Heat held an 11-8 lead. The Wolves turned the ball over twice early, and Rubio missed two free throws. In essence, not much changed since the road trip. Meanwhile, it was the Wade and James show on Miami’s end. They accounted for all 11 points and several highlight moves around the rim.
At the end of the 1st quarter, the Heat held a 22-16 lead. Chris Bosh also came to life in the latter stages of the quarter, chipping in 5 points and 3 rebounds. No one on the Wolves had more than 4 points and it was a rather dull opening twelve minutes.
After Miami widened its margin to double digits, the Wolves answered with their own 9-2 run to cut the lead to 4 points. Derrick Williams hit a few mid-range jumpers while Rubio was active on the defensive end which led to fast break points. The remainder of the 2nd quarter was played at a nice pace with the home team being able to keep it close. Unfortunately for the Wolves (and the pad underneath the rim), Rubio missed a tip-in as time expired in the half. (Rubio subsequently right-crossed the pad and stormed into the locker room.)
At the half, the Heat held a 50-43 advantage. Here are a few halftime thoughts through my Wolves lens:
- JJ Barea was 1-7 from the field in the 1st half and completely maddening to watch
- I wish Rubio’s effort and visible frustration with losing was more contagious with the Pups
- Mike Miller gets 0 PT in Miami (although I figure he will see some time in the 2nd half)
The Heat opened up the 3rd quarter with a 12-5 run and opened up their biggest lead of the game to that point (14 points). However, once again the Wolves were able to respond with a 6-0 run of their own. This included Ricky Rubio pickpocketing Mario Chalmers around half court and scoring on a layup on the other end of the floor.
Ricky Rubio, Derrick Williams and small contributions from Shved and Cunningham, helped keep the Wolves in the game through three quarters. While the Pups were trailing 69-63, they were right there going into the final twelve minutes, despite the albatross that is, JJ Barea; who was 1-9 from the field through three quarters.
Minnesota continued to scrap with the Heat, which included JJ Barea getting under Ray Allen’s skin by … being JJ Barea. Allen wasn’t amused at all and some choice words were exchanged. During a commercial break, the refs decided that Barea’s foul was a Flagrant 2, which made absolutely no sense. To make matters worse, the refs also gave Adelman one technical and on the next trip down the floor, called Alexey Shved for a leg kick-out after a made three pointer, which nullified the basket and essentially killed the Wolves momentum.
When an actual basketball game resumed, the Heat took command of the game and pulled away from the Wolves. This included the aforementioned Mike Miller sighting. With nothing more to say about the game itself, Jim Pete went into a thirty second rant about how infuriating Miller’s time with the Wolves was. Thank you Jim, thank you!
After Barea was tossed, the Heat closed the game on a 21-11 run and took their 15th straight victory with a 97-81 win at the Target Center.
Keys of the Game
- Strength – Sounds ridiculous huh? Well, when you have LeBron James and Dwyane Wade against an undermanned and undersized Wolves team, I’ll just go with “strength” over “talent”. James and Wade were able to do virtually whatever they wanted, particularly in getting to the paint.
- Shooting Percentages – This is getting old right? Heat = 51% FG%, 84% FT%; Wolves = 38% FG%, 67% FT%.
- Bad JJ Barea – I’m not talking about his trucker/potty mouth either. 1-11 from the field, and no regard for running Adelman’s offense.
Three Stars of the Game
- Dwyane Wade – Wade abused Ridnour and the rest of the Pups that tried to guard him. 32 points on 15-23 shooting, to go with 10 assists and 7 rebounds.
- LeBron James – For the first time seeing LeBron play (this work week), I have to say he is pretty good. James finished with 20 & 10. Despite the 7 turnovers, James dominated around the paint and set the tone early with Wade.
- Ricky Rubio – The Unicorn finished with 14 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds, and 6 steals. Quite the performance from Ricky on another nationally televised game.
Derrick Williams (and not Mike Miller) gets an honorable mention as DWill had another double-double (25 & 10) for the Wolves and remains the only bright spot on the club beyond Rubio.