The Miami Heat traveled to Minnesota to take on the Timberwolves Thursday. Both teams were coming off a loss, and Miami was looking for its first road win while the Timberwolves were looking for their first win at home. The Heat was without Gerald Green and Mario Chalmers for the game, as they tried to get back over .500 for the year.
Miami kept up with the habit of starting slow. However, it didn’t last as long tonight. After missing their first six shots, Miami went on a 10-0 run behind scoring from Luol Deng and Dwyane Wade. Deng quickly bounced back from a poor shooting night Tuesday and made his first two shots of the night.
Hassan Whiteside continued to show his much improved offensive game in the early going as well. He was able to get good position in the low post that resulted in either fouls or points. He has the second highest field goal percentage in the NBA this season so far, and if he gets the ball down low, he usually scores.
Chris Bosh was rebounding the ball extremely well early, not skipping a beat from the 14 rebounds he had Tuesday. Justise Winslow played 17 minutes in the first half and played stellar defense on Andrew Wiggins, holding him to only five points. Winslow made some great passes in transition as well, as Miami had success on the break.
The Timberwolves bench came up big as Shabazz Muhammad and Kevin Martin combined for 17 points in the first half as Minnesota’s bench outscored Miami’s 24-5 overall. However, Miami shot 50 percent from the field and did a great job getting looks close to the rim, as they outscored Minnesota, 26-10, in the paint.
Dwyane Wade made the biggest impact in the first half as he scored 16 points, including nine in the final two minutes of the second quarter. He was hitting pull up jumpers, getting to the rim, and even made a half-court shot at the buzzer to end the half. Wade took the game over and helped Miami take a 49-39 lead heading into the third quarter.
Minnesota came out strong to begin the third quarter, as they went on a 7-0 run early before Miami answered and increased the lead back to double digits. Goran Dragic has played much better as the season has gone on, and that continued tonight, as he was able to get to the basket and finish some very difficult layups. He was attacking in the half court and transition, getting to the rim whenever he wanted. His scoring helped Miami take a 16-point lead at one point in the third.
Every member of the Heat starting five had scored in double digits through three quarters. The starting unit is starting to get more comfortable and you could really see it tonight on offense as everyone was getting involved.
Minnesota had made 19 of their 20 attempts from the free-throw line and that was a big reason they were still in the game heading into the fourth quarter.
Dwyane Wade continued to get it done for Miami throughout the fourth. He was the primary ball handler for Miami for most of the quarter, and continued his scoring to keep the Heat ahead by double digits. Wade finished with 25 points and Miami won the game, 96-84. Wade has scored 20 points or more in the first five games of the season for the first time since the 2009-2010 season.
Goran Dragic got it done for a second straight game, as he scored 18 points, and Chris Bosh also came up big with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Overall, the Heat starters outscored the Wolves starters, 81-29.
Kevin Martin and Shabazz Muhammad both scored 14 points off the bench for Minnesota.
Miami wins on the road for the first time this season and improves to 3-2 while Minnesota loses its second straight to fall to 2-2. The Heat plays the second half of a back-to-back set Friday in Indiana against the Pacers.