Wolves can't handle Heat
By Jon Krawczynski, AP Sports Writer
MINNEAPOLIS -- Dwyane Wade scored 32 points, LeBron James added 27 points, 10 assists and six rebounds, and the Miami Heat turned a tight game into a rout in the third quarter of a 111-92 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.
Chris Bosh added 24 points and 11 rebounds for the Heat, who trailed at halftime but opened the third quarter with a staggering 25-1 run to take control. Miami reduced its magic number for clinching the Southeast Division to one, with Orlando's victory over Charlotte on Friday preventing the Heat from wrapping it up.
Kevin Love had 18 points and seven rebounds for the Timberwolves, who have lost nine games in a row.
The Wolves led 52-51 after a spirited first half, but missed their first 14 shots of the third quarter to let the game get out of reach.
Martell Webster had one of his best games of the season for the Wolves with 22 points. But his flow was interrupted in the first half by foul trouble and James locked down Minnesota's other top offensive threat, holding Michael Beasley to 13 points.
The Heat entered the game trailing top-seeded Chicago by 2½ games in the East and were still stinging a little from a lackluster performance in a loss to Cleveland, the worst team in the league, on Tuesday. So they weren't about to drop a game to the worst team in the West in the same week.
The Heat thought they were finally putting things together with eight wins in nine games when they had what coach Erik Spoelstra called "a hiccup" against the Cavaliers. Miami trailed by as many as 23 points in a 102-90 loss at Cleveland, the working-class city that James dumped on national television over the summer in favor of glitzy, star-studded Miami.
Despite getting Beasley and Webster in early foul trouble, the Heat let the young Wolves hang around, and Minnesota made its move in the second quarter. Webster and Anthony Tolliver hit 3s, and Luke Ridnour added two more from long range, the last giving the Wolves a 52-49 lead late in the first half.
And then, just like that, it was over.
The Heat stormed out of the break with an effort so dominating that undermanned and overmatched Wolves coach Kurt Rambis could only shake his head and mutter a helpless chuckle after watching Wade throw down dunk after dunk in transition.
Leaking out on the break, he started the period with an acrobatic reverse, added a jaw-dropping reverse alley-oop from James and made his first eight shots of the quarter. He also chased down Wayne Ellington on a break and pinned his layup attempt against the glass for some dynamic defense.
The gut punch for the Wolves came late in the fourth with James on the free throw line. He missed the shot, but the Wolves didn't realize he only got one, and James grabbed the ball from an equally clueless Bosh and threw down a dunk.
The Wolves had a 24-second violation on the following possession, drawing boos from the home crowd.
NOTES: Wolves C Darko Milicic left in the first quarter with a sprained ankle and did not return. ... Heat F Mike Miller missed his third straight game with a sprained right knee. ... Heat F Udonis Haslem, who has been out since November with a broken left foot, continues to work his way back. Spoelstra said he definitely will not play in the next two games. ... The Timberwolves production crew played Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" before introducing the Heat.