Scouting Report: Wolves vs. Heat
Wolves Editorial/Social Media Associate
Wolves (0-2) vs. Heat (3-0) 7 PM - Target Center
Where to Wach: FS North
Where to Listen: 830 AM WCCO
*Get your questions on the radio airwaves during halftime! Just tweet questions to @WolvesRadio and listen to the halftime show hosted by John Focke on WCCO 830 AM.
Confidence is the key for the Minnesota Timberwolves as they begin their longest homestand of the season. Kicking off a five-game home stint on Friday against Eastern Conference powerhouse Miami, the Wolves know putting together four quarters is essential to pulling out a victory.
When tipoff takes place at 7 p.m. tonight at Target Center, that's what Minnesota plans to do.
The Wolves put together a pair of comeback bids in their first two games of the season against Oklahoma City and Milwaukee, and despite their impressive attempts to pull out victories both came up short. Coach Rick Adelman said it's not a matter of if the Wolves can take that next step, it's simply a matter of doing it.
"Coming back in the second half against Milwaukee, after being down, we just have to do it over a longer period of time," Adelman said.
Miami on top but not unreachable
Averaging 49.3 points in the paint in its first three games this season, Miami begins the season 3-0 for the fourth time in franchise history and will battle for win No. 4 tonight against the Timberwolves.
The Heat clinched their third win Wednesday night over the Charlotte Bobcats (1-1), but the victory did not come without a fight. Charlotte started strong, taking a 60-45 lead over Miami at the half.
However, Miami showed its come-from-behind efforts as forward LeBron James put 12 points on the board in the third to close the gap by one. With 2.9 seconds remaining on the clock, guard Dwyane Wade sunk the game-winning shot from six feet out to seal a 96-95 victory over the Bobcats.
Prior to Wednesday’s win, Miami also locked up a 115-107 win over the Boston Celtics Tuesday, along with a 105-94 victory over the Dallas Mavericks Sunday, Dec. 25.
Battier an anchor for Heat's D
The Heat garner a lot of attention offensively with James, Wade and Chris Bosh leading the way. But Adelman said one of Miami's added strengths this offseason was veteran Shane Battier, who has anchored the Heat's defense by taking on opposing teams' toughest offensive weapons.
“He’s going to be very consistent for them,” Adelman said. “He always defends well; he always makes the right play. He doesn’t need to score, there’s no ego there. As the season goes on you are going to see them be really flexible with the team they can put out there."
A chance to shine
Miami is one of the teams to beat in the Eastern Conference, but the Wolves showed in their regular season opener against the Thunder that they can play the league's elite tough at Target Center.
That's the challenge again tonight.
“They are one of the best teams in this league and they have the best players in the league in LeBron and Wade," guard Ricky Rubio said. "They are hard to defend, but we have to play as a team to beat them.”
Adelman said Miami's versatility is the most difficult thing to match up. Particularly, James' ability to move around and use his athleticism to possibly play both forward positions will be one of the Wolves' challenges tonight.
“If you put LeBron on the 4-spot, that’s pretty tough cover," Adelman said. "Then Bosh at the 5-spot and you put Shane and Wade out there, it’s a lot of flexibility and he takes some pressure off some other guys because he can guard the better players on the other team and those guys don’t have to do it.”
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For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter.