HEAT 109 - Timberwolves 97 Game Recap

Photo Credit: Jordan Johnson
by Joe Beguiristain

The Miami HEAT defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 109-97 Friday night at Target Center. Wayne Ellington led the way for the HEAT with 21 points.

1. 3llington

Ellington is called “The Man With The Golden Arm” for a reason.

With Miami already up double-digits in the fourth quarter, the 29-year-old ensured there would be no comeback from Minnesota and scored nine points in the fourth on 3-of-5 shooting from downtown.

In particular, this three in transition thanks to great defense by Kelly Olynyk really got the team fired up:

On the flip side of the ball, Ellington did a nice job of guarding Jamal Crawford, Shabazz Muhammad and even Jimmy Butler when he was matched up with him.

In addition to his team-high 21 points on 6-of-9 shooting, the former North Carolina Tar Heel also had three boards.

2. Dragić Keeps Things Moving

If you’ve watched the HEAT enough this year, you know that Goran Dragić almost always starts off the game with a lot of energy. That was the case once more on Friday, as the Dragon led all scorers with 15 points in the first half thanks to four catch-and-shoot treys.

While that was important, Dragić got into the paint throughout the night and set up his teammates very well (as did most of the HEAT).

That said, one of his more impressive plays came early in the fourth when he hustled in defensive transition and stole the ball from Tyus Jones. From there, Ellington knocked down a corner three (shocker).

Dragić finished with 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting, six assists, four boards, two steals and a plus-13 rating.

3. Winslow Rises To The Occasion

Defending a versatile big like Karl-Anthony Towns is no easy feat. Now imagine if you’re giving up five inches and about 20 pounds to him.

That didn’t faze Justise Winslow one bit.

From the very beginning, Winslow defended Towns supremely well and came away with this block late in the third:

Winslow helped hold the former Kentucky Wildcat to just 1-of-9 shooting through the first three quarters.

Earlier in the contest, the 21-year-old Winslow had an impressive sequence where he forced a miss from Andrew Wiggins, brought the ball up the floor and set up Dion Waiters for a corner three:

When it was all said and done, Winslow tallied eight points, six rebounds and two assists to go along with that aforementioned block.

Other Takeaways:

-Hassan Whiteside played quite well against Minnesota, as he used his strength advantage against Towns and height advantage over Taj Gibson pretty often.

Just take a look at this nifty spin and slam on Gibson early in the third:

Whiteside ended up with 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting, a team-high 10 rebounds, one steal, one block and a plus-14 rating.

-The HEAT tallied a season-high 29 assists on 38 made field goals and recorded a season-high 19 threes.

Game Note:

-Okaro White (left foot surgery) sat out. Rodney McGruder (left tibia surgery), Derrick Walton Jr. (Sioux Falls assignment), A.J. Hammons (Sioux Falls assignment) and Matt Williams Jr. (Sioux Falls assignment) were inactive.

Looking Ahead:

-The HEAT will now head to Chicago to take on the Bulls on Sunday at 3:30 PM. Miami’s next home game will be on Friday, Dec. 1 against the Hornets at 8:00 PM. Tickets for that game at AmericanAirlines Arena can be found here.

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