Wolves Take Heat To Wire, Fall In Final Seconds
Wolves Editorial/Social Media Associate
The Miami Heat came into Target Center on Friday with a perfect record and a lineup full of All-Stars.
They left with a win, and a glimpse of a scrappy Timberwolves squad on the rise. Dwyane Wade's lay-in with 4.6 seconds left broke a tie game and secured a 103-101 win over the Wolves in front of a sellout crowd of 19,356, but in the process Minnesota showed the fight and athleticism that can go blow-for-blow with the NBA's elite.
"This year we feel like we can win these games," forward Anthony Tolliver said. "We've fallen short these first three games but it's all a learning experience. You have to learn how to win."
They key on Friday was a collection of breakout games from the Wolves' bench. Rookie point guard Ricky Rubio led the way, posting 12 points and 12 assists for his first double-double as an NBA player.
But Rubio tag-teamed with an assortment of role players to bring the team back from an early deficit. Minnesota trailed 31-20 after the first quarter, but bench players Tolliver, Anthony Randolph, Derrick Williams and Wayne Ellington teamed with Rubio to mount the comeback.
The bench accounted for 57 of the team's 101 total points in the game. That, combined with Kevin Love's 25 points and 12 rebounds, kept Minnesota fighting throughout the contest.
Randolph led the bench with 14 points, while Ellington had 11 and Tolliver and Williams had 10 apiece. Williams, known for his high-flying dunks, showed his versatility by shooting 2-for-3 from the 3-point line.
The Wolves began chipping away, and with 2:18 remaining in the half Minnesota took a 46-45 lead thanks to a Rubio pull-up jumper. Minnesota (0-3) led 53-51 at halftime.
"I was really pleased with the way they competed and how they stayed with it, especially after the first quarter," coach Rick Adelman said. "From that point on we played pretty solid."
At the point, Rubio never broke his concentration. Whether the team was trailing or he had just given them the lead and an eruption of excitement roared from fans, his concentration and demeanor stayed the same. The accomplishments and strides he has made will not be enough until he gets a win for both the team and the fans.
"With the three games we feel like we play good but we don't have any wins and that is what matters," Rubio said. "Win or lose, it's what matters."
But the unbeaten Heat (4-0) showed why they reached the finals a year ago. Miami rallied in the second half, largely on the play of forward LeBron James and guard Dwyane Wade. James, who turned 27 years old on Friday, scored 34 points and added 10 assists in the game, while Wade finished with 19 points and five assists. Chris Bosh scored 20 points, and rookie Norris Cole finished with 12.
"You have to give our guys a lot of credit, they played hard tonight," Adelman said. "We had a great chance to win tonight. It's the same thing; we had too many turnovers that led to a lot of points for them. We did a lot of good things tonight. It's just sooner or later you have to keep through it and give yourself a win at the end. If they stay with it they'll do that. Give them a lot of credit for the way they played tonight."
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