Wolves vs. Heat Gameday
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Wolves vs. Heat 7:00 PM - Target Center
Where to Watch: My29
Where to Listen: 1130 AM
*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 1130 AM.
* Udonis Haslem (torn ligament in left foot) - Out
* Dexter Pittman (knee) - Out
* Mario Chalmers (strained right knee) - Out
* Mike Miller (strained right knee) - Day-to-Day
Under the microscope all season, the Heat managed to weather the scrutiny storm and reach the final stretch run to the playoffs with a chance to capture the No. 1 spot in the Eastern Conference. Following a five-game losing skid to start March, Miami bounced back by winning its next nine of 11 games heading into the contest against Minnesota tonight. The Cavaliers finally toppled the King on Tuesday night with a 102-90 victory at the Q despite 27 points and 12 assists from James in his final visit to Cleveland. At 52-23, the Heat is third in the East, 2.5 games behind top seeded Chicago and just a half game back of the struggling Celtics. A minor move may pay major dividends after the Heat acquired veteran guard Mike Bibby on March 2. While the former Hawks point guard does not offer lockdown defense on the wing, he is a proven deep range shooter, which is the missing component to the Heat's offensive attack. When Dwyane Wade and LeBron James penetrate the lane, they search for open and willing shooters on the perimeter. Bibby is that type of presence, hitting 53.6 percent from the 3-point line over his last five games. The negative aspect that could bite Miami in the playoffs is the major defensive lapses from Bibby, forcing James and Wade to pick up the slack defending high profile point guards in the East, such as Rajon Rondo and MVP candidate Derrick Rose. Meanwhile, the Heat are hoping Chalmers returns in the next week and forward Udonis Haslem is aiming for the final week of the regular season.
Last Time Out
In a wild game against Washington, Miami outscored the Wizards by nine in the fourth quarter to earn a 123-107 victory but Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Juwan Howard were ejected in the contest. John Wall felt Big Z threw an elbow at him during a routine encounter, leading to a thrown punch from the rookie.
The Bulls entered the Target Center and showed their dominance by cruising to a 108-91 win over the Wolves.
The Numbers Game
The Wolves have faced the league's elite over five games as Dallas, Oklahoma City, Boston, Chicago, and Miami have a combined record of 261-111.
Match-up to Watch
Dwyane Wade vs. Wes Johnson
The science experiment that has occurred in South Beach revealed several interesting storylines between Wade, James, and Bosh. At the top of the list is the ongoing challenge for the Wade-James combo and who accepts the role of dominant scorer and who takes the reins as playmaker. It seems Wade is the top offensive weapon, averaging 25.8 points per game this year and 30 over his last five games while shooting an impressive 50 percent from the floor. James is more comfortable as the set up man, powering through the paint to look for open teammates or working off the bounce in pick-and-roll situations. Rookie Wes Johnson will need to cut off driving lanes and attempt to slowdown one of the most gifted offensive players in the league. Offensively, Johnson is searching for some daylight after being held scoreless against Chicago in only 16 minutes of action. The last time Johnson faced a premier shooting guard (Kobe Bryant), he posted a career-high 29 points in Los Angeles.
What to Look For
The scouting report is quite challenging when facing a supremely talented team like the Heat. They own two superstar players that are capable of taking over games and a terrific post player in Bosh. Aside from the "Heatles" Miami is not a deep team and are less dangerous in a halfcourt type of contest. If the Wolves are careless with the ball, Wade and James will feast on those opportunities and race out in the open floor for momentum changing dunks. Turnovers has been the Achilles heel for Minnesota all season but tonight, the team must protect the rock and keep the game close in the final minutes for a shot at an upset.
For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Jonah on Twitter.