Heat use strong fourth to beat 'Wolves
MIAMI, Florida (AFP) –
Miami blew open a close contest with a 17-6 run in the fourth quarter as they beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 103-92 behind a 24-point performance from Dwyane Wade.
LeBron James finished with 22 points and 11 assists for the reigning NBA champion Heat who captured their fourth victory in five games.
Chris Bosh also scored 15 points to help the Heat prevail in front of a crowd of 19,862 at the American Airlines Arena.
The Heat won despite being out-rebounded by 52-24 and outscored in the paint 58-36.
“At end of the third and fourth quarter our offense was much more efficient,” said Miami coach Erik Spoelstra.
“It is uncanny how they (Minnesota) are able to rebound like that. When we needed it we finally made the adjustments and got some team rebounds.”
Miami shot a superb 52 percent (13-of-25) from three-point range as Mario Chalmers hit four-of-six from beyond the arc. Chalmers had 12 points and Shane Battier went three-of-seven from three-point range.
Andrei Kirilenko had 22 points to pace the Minnesota attack. Nikola Pekovic finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Timberwolves who lost their second straight after compiling a season-best four-game win streak.
Kevin Love grabbed 18 rebounds for Minnesota, but went just two-of-10 from the field while ending with 11 points.
Miami have now won their last five games against Minnesota.
The Heat benefited from being fully healthy. James aggravated his shoulder last Wednesday against the Golden State Warriors, but he was ready to go Tuesday.
The Timberwolves were coming off a loss Monday night in Orlando.
They were missing Josh Howard who is out with a hyperextended right knee.
“That is a tough team. They are relentless on the glass,” Spoelstra said of Minnesota.