Wade returns to spark Heat vs. Wolves
The Sports Xchange
Minnesota 82 Miami 103
MINNEAPOLIS -- LeBron James and Dwyane Wade didn't need to shoot 3-pointers against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday.
Wade threw an alley-oop pass off the backboard to James as part of a 17-6 run to close the third quarter as the Miami Heat pulled away for a 103-82 win at Target Center on Saturday.
Miami snapped a two-game losing streak and handed the Wolves a second straight loss.
"I didn't know what I was going to do; I just knew (James) was trucking me down," Wade said. "If I would've (gone) up to dunk it, he probably would've blocked it."
James flushed it for two of the Heat's 56 points in the paint. James flirted with a triple-double with 21 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists.
Kevin Martin led the Wolves with 19 points.
Wade missed the last two games due to a knee injury and an illness, but he scored on the opening possession en route to a 19-point performance. Wade injured his right knee in the second quarter but immediately returned and played 32 minutes.
"Early on, you knew it was going to be tough, but I got a second wind and I felt pretty good," Wade said.
The Wolves struggled offensively and on the boards in their first game in six days and without Kevin Love. They shot 29.3 percent from the floor without a starter shooting over 50 percent.
Ricky Rubio went 0 for 4 from the floor with just a point in 27 minutes. He had six assists and six of the Wolves' 18 turnovers.
"We didn't move the ball the way we talked about moving the ball against them," Wolves coach Rick Adelman said. "You know what they are going to do. They are very active and long, jump, pick-and-rolls. The ball's got to move if you're going to get good shots."
The Heat was outrebounded for a third straight game, 45-44, despite Love's absence. Nikola Pekovic finished with 12 rebounds to collect his fourth double-double over the last five games.
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute replaced Love in the starting lineup and had 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting.
"They're missing a big component; Kevin Love absolutely changes the dynamic of that team," Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. "When he's not here, their game changes a little bit, and we were able to take advantage of that."
The Wolves had the largest first-quarter point differential in the NBA (108) entering Saturday's contest and held a 25-24 lead after the first period, led by Martin's 12-point quarter. But the Heat went on an 11-2 run with James on the bench to start the second quarter.
The lead increased to 55-42 at the end of the first half with James, who had 13 points, 10 rebounds and six assists at intermission. James pushed the tempo in transition on defensive rebounds.
"To me it was just conscious effort," James said. "Always trying to go to the glass, always trying to go clean glass and get defensive rebounds, offensive rebounds and try to put more pressure on myself to help out."
Pekovic scored five points in the first two minutes of the second half as part of the Wolves' 11-4 run to trim the deficit down to 59-54, but the Heat quickly answered with their third-quarter run and the alley-oop marking the start of the blowout win.
NOTES: Heat guard Dwyane Wade returned to the court after missing Thursday's loss against the Bulls due to an illness. Wade said it has been frustrating missing five games this season. "You want to be out there every day, but it's a part of the game," Wade said. "Everyone deals with it in their way. Only thing I can focus on is when I'm able to get back on the court and try to go out there and help my team win." ... Wolves forward Luc Mbah a Moute made his first start with his new team, filling in for forward Kevin Love, who left the team due to the death of his grandmother. Mbah a Moute appeared in two games with the Wolves before this start. ... Heat forward Michael Beasley was a late scratch due to a hamstring injury. He is listed as day-to-day. ... Wolves coach Rick Adelman missed Friday's practice to be with his son, Wolves assistant coach David Adelman, and David's wife, Jenny, for the birth of their son, Leonard Joseph (LJ) Adelman. It's Adelman's eighth grandchild.