Heat Blaze Past Wolves
Miami 97, Minnesota 70
MIAMI, Jan. 1 (Ticker) -- Knowing they will need all hands on deck during a season-high seven-game road trip starting Wednesday, the Miami Heat had to like what they saw Sunday.
With their star teammates hampered by foul trouble, Alonzo Mourning recorded his eighth double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds and James Posey chipped in 11 points and a season-high four steals in the Heat's 97-70 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Mourning had nine points and three rebounds in the third and Posey, who shot 4-of-5 from the floor overall, made all four of his steals and scored six points.
"We've got a lot of guys on this team who can put points up," said Wade, who scored 19 points and dished out a game-high nine assists. "Instead of having a night where you've got Shaq or myself scoring the majority of the points, I think we would all love it if everybody could get into the mix and have a night like tonight."
"The second half of tonight's game showed that we can do it when we have to," Posey said. "That's the mindset that we've got to have."
Wade and O'Neal combined for the first 13 points of the third as the Heat opened a 54-45 lead. Mourning had the next five and Posey later hit a 3-pointer to start a 7-0 run that left Miami with a 66-50 advantage with 4:30 left.
Posey added another from the arc and Mourning dunked in the final seconds of the third, during which the Timberwolves shot 4-of-14 from the floor and had six turnovers. Miami outscored Minnesota, 32-15, in the pivotal period.
"The second half, obviously, was like night and day from the first period," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "In the first period, we were so far out of sync at both ends of the court."
The Timberwolves held a 23-15 advantage after one quarter and led until O'Neal's layup 57 seconds into the third put Miami ahead, 45-44.
"They came out early and were really moving the ball on us, getting layups," Wade said. "And in the third quarter, we kind of shut it down. That's where the game was won."
"We hit a freight train in the third quarter," Minnesota coach Dwane Casey said. "We couldn't execute. We couldn't shoot and we couldn't score. They turned the heat up and we didn't respond."
Mourning had another dunk early in the fourth and Wade and O'Neal returned to put away the game midway through the period as Minnesota scored just 11 points in the final 12 minutes.
"They turned up the defense and executed on offense," said Wally Szczerbiak, who led Minnesota with 19 points but scored just seven in the second half. "Good teams are going to come at you and you have to be able to weather the storm and go right back at them. We weren't able to do that."
Kevin Garnett matched a season-low with 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting for the Timberwolves, who have lost eight of 10 after a five-game winning streak. They shot 32.5 percent for the game, and just 24 percent (8-of-34) after halftime as Miami had its best defensive effort of the season.
"You can't beat a great team like Miami shooting 32 percent," Casey said.
"The third quarter was probably the best defensive we've played, the most intense and correct defense that we've played this year," Riley said. "I thought that just propelled us to a great second half. We took them right out of what they wanted to do."
Garnett was routinely double- or triple-teamed and had only one basket in the second half.
"It was kind of difficult to get some things done," Garnett said. "They were throwing all kinds of things at me during the second half and I never adjusted to that."