Notebook: Heat 97, Timberwolves 81

Posted Mar 5, 2013 12:11 AM

Jim Beilby, for

THE FACTS: The Miami Heat set a franchise record with their 15th consecutive victory, defeating a depleted Minnesota Timberwolves team, 97-81, on Monday night. A night after landing awkwardly and tweaking his knee, LeBron James played and played well, but it was Dwyane Wade for whom Minnesota had no answer. He scored 32 points, got 10 assists, and grabbed seven rebounds. Minnesota only had nine players available for the game and they were missing their entire starting frontcourt (Kevin Love, Andrei Kirilenko, and Nikola Pekovic). In their absence Derrick Williams led the Wolves with 25 points and 10 rebounds and Ricky Rubio continued his strong all-around play with 14 points, eight assists, five rebounds, and six steals.

While Miami maintained a comfortable lead for most of the game, Minnesota kept making enough runs to keep the game from getting out of hand. After leading by 11 in the second quarter, Minnesota closed the gap to four. And after trailing by 14 in the third quarter, Minnesota went on a 14-4 run to close the third and open the fourth quarter and got within three, 71-68. Yet Miami had the final answer. Leading by six and with a little over eight minutes to play, they capitalized on a flurry of calls that left the Wolves reeling. Miami turned up the pressure and the result was a 16-5 run that secured the victory for Miami.

QUOTABLE: "We always ask the league. They will probably say that they blew it. That's probably what is going to happen. At least come over and explain it. He (lead official, Ed Malloy) just came over and said 'you're gone.' There is no explanation. Nothing. It was a really contested game and it did change the whole momentum of the game. That's what happened. But, again, we didn't shoot the ball well. We shot 37 percent, 25 percent from 3 and 66 percent from the line against the world champions. That's probably not going to do it."
-- Minnesota coach Rick Adelman on the flagrant 2 foul called against J. J. Barea.

THE STAT: Miami took advantage of Minnesota's frontcourt injuries, outscoring Minnesota in the paint 58-32. Miami also shot 51.4 percent from the field compared to Minnesota's 37.5 percent. And Miami outrebounded Minnesota 53-46 -- a far cry from Minnesota's 52-24 rebounding advantage in their first game of the season.

TURNING POINT: The string of fouls called by the officials starting with the ejection of Barea with 8:09 in the fourth quarter sparked a 16-5 run that gave Miami an 18 point lead with less than three minutes to play..

QUOTABLE II: "Tonight was just about finding some way to win, however we had to do it. It was an uneven game, obviously. [We were] very careless offensively, but at the end of the day we found a way to get the win."
-- Miami coach Erik Spoelstra.

HOT (as in, hot headed): Ray Allen and Barea had a shoving match and had to be separated early in the fourth quarter.

NOT (as in, not popular with the Target Center crowd): The result of the dust-up between Barea and Allen was, inexplicably, a flagrant 2 foul called on Barea. And in the next minute a technical foul was called on Adelman and back-to-back offensive fouls were called on Minnesota.

NOTABLE: Miami has won the last five (six) games against Minnesota .. Their last loss came on February 1 (102-89 to Indiana) .. Miami ranks first in the league in field goal percentage (.496) and second in the league in 3-point percentage (.393) ..

UP NEXT: For the Wolves, Wednesday vs. Washington, Saturday @ Denver, Sunday vs. Dallas. For the Heat, Wednesday vs. Orlando, Friday vs. Philadelphia, Sunday vs. Indiana.