The Miami Heat won by the skin of their teeth. Two days after Dwyane Wade beat the Charlotte Bobcats on a last-second shot, he did it again to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night in a 103-101 win.
The game was a close contest throughout, but at times, it looked like the Heat were about to break away. The Wolves stayed in the game with a very impressive bench performance, outscoring Miami’s bench 57-21.
The Wolves only had 10 players available, with guard J.J. Barea out with a hamstring injury and rookie point guard Malcolm Lee having knee surgery on Friday, which puts him out for six to eight weeks.
Only two Miami bench players scored, while every bench player for the Wolves scored in double digits, including rookie point guard Ricky Rubio.
Rubio looked fantastic once again, making breathtaking passes. Multiple times during the game, the Target Center crowd chanted “RU-BI-O” and “MVP.”
The Spanish sensation had five turnovers, which looks bad on paper, but when watching the game, they looked like turnovers of aggression and not complete bone-head turnovers.
The rookie achieved his first NBA double-double with 12 points and 12 assists, while six of his points came from two three-pointers he knocked down. He looked a lot more confident than he did Monday, which is very encouraging. Rubio also pulled down six rebounds, which completed a strong performance.
Kevin Love did his thing once again, also achieving another double-double. Love scored 25 points and boarded the ball 12 times in only 33 minutes.
The first two games of the year, Love played 40 minutes a game, but had to sit on the bench longer after he got into foul trouble. Love was the only starter on the floor at the end of the game for the Wolves, along with reserves Ricky Rubio, Derrick Williams, Wayne Ellington and Anthony Tolliver.
The Heat only had six players score points, compared to the Wolves where all 10 players scored. But, the Big Three made up most of Miami’s scoring.
Norris Cole scored 12 points off the bench in 30 minutes of play, and starter Mario Chalmers only played 15 minutes with 9 points. The impressive play of Cole raises the question not if, but when will he take over for Chalmers in the starting role?
Turnovers proved costly once again for the Wolves on Friday when they turned it over a whopping 25 times. It looked like the Wolves may have gotten over the turnover problem in their first game against the Thunder, but they've had way too many over the last two games.
It’s still hard to believe the Wolves lost to Milwaukee when you see how they play against championship contenders like Miami and Oklahoma City.
LeBron James may have gotten out of Minneapolis with a win, but he didn't get it without a fight from the young Minnesota Timberwolves.