Miami Heat vs. Minnesota Timberwolves: Postgame Grades and Analysis

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Miami Heat vs. Minnesota Timberwolves: Postgame Grades and Analysis
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat (15-5) were never really tested by the Minnesota Timberwolves (9-11) during a 103-82 drubbing in Minneapolis Saturday night.

The 'Wolves were without their superstar power forward Kevin Love as he attended to a family matter, and his absence was felt. The Wolves could not create any reliable offense as they shot just 29.3 percent from the field.

Miami's swarming defense not only stifled the opposition's offense but also created easy opportunities on the other end. The Heat scored 24 fast-break points, compared to 14 for the Timberwolves.

They looked engaged the entire game and clearly didn't want to suffer a third straight loss. From the Associated Press via ESPN, LeBron said, "We don't like losing back-to-back games, and we definitely don't want to lose three in a row. So it was a good pick-up game after the loss to Chicago."

 

Key Player Grades

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LeBron James, Miami Heat, Small Forward/Power Forward

What can be said about LeBron James that hasn't already been said? His dominance has become so redundant that people may now be taking it for granted.

Saturday, he coasted (yes, coasted) to 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting, 14 rebounds and eight assists. Had he played during the fourth quarter of this blowout, another triple-double would have been his.

There are nights when it looks like he can beat opposing teams by himself, and he often does. This was one of those nights. The Timberwolves had no answer for his multifaceted brilliance throughout.

Grade: A+

 

Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat, Shooting Guard

Dwyane Wade looks to be settling comfortably into his new role. This season, he's not really Robin to LeBron's Batman (unless there's some alternate story arch I'm unaware of in which Robin is physically broken down and the older of the two).

He's more of a Professor X or Yoda—sitting out a lot of action, but ready and able to step up when needed.

And he did just that Saturday against the 'Wolves, scoring 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting. He looked spry throughout the game, despite a knee-to-knee collision in the first half that put a slight scare into the hearts of Heat fans.

Grade: A-

 

Chris Bosh, Miami Heat, Center/Power Forward

Chris Bosh has been outplayed by Michael Beasley this season. Don't believe me? Well then, check out this side-by-side comparison of the two forwards.

If Miami is going to win a third straight championship, a third player needs to step up and I'm starting to wonder if it will be Bosh.

He was underwhelming again Saturday night, scoring just eight points on 4-of-8 shooting. Although his nine rebounds was a monumental effort compared to what he's typically done on the boards this season.

Grade: C

 

Mario Chalmers, Miami Heat, Point Guard

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As was already discussed with Wade, Mario Chalmers knows his role and plays it well. Really, that could be said of the entire Miami team. And as much as I've enjoyed joking about Erik Spoelstra over the years, that's a credit to his coaching.

Some nights, Chalmers needs to score. Some nights, he needs to distribute the ball. Some nights, he doesn't need to do much of anything besides knock down a few open shots.

Against the Timberwolves, he only got six attempts up, and he hit four of them for nine points.

Grade: B

 

Shane Battier, Miami Heat, Small Forward/Power Forward

Shane Battier had almost no impact on this game, playing only 18 minutes and scoring three points on 1-of-6 shooting. 

He did contribute defensively, though, swatting two shots.

Grade: D+

 

Rashard Lewis, Miami Heat, Power Forward/Small Forward

One of the most dangerous aspects of this team is its depth. Saturday night, Miami was without its excellent substitute combo forward Michael Beasley. As is typically the case with the Heat, someone calmly stepped up and replaced the injured guy.

This time it was Rashard Lewis, who played 29 minutes off the bench and scored 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting.

Grade: B

 

Bench, Miami Heat

The bench as a whole went 18-of-32 from the field for 43 points. Ray Allen joined Lewis in double figures with 11 and Chris Andersen and Roger Mason pitched in nine each. 

Grade: B+

 

Kevin Martin, Minnesota Timberwolves, Shooting Guard

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With Love out, Minnesota needed someone to step up offensively. Kevin Martin struggled to do so, going 5-of-16 from the field.

He still managed to put up more points (19) than shots because of how good he is at getting to the line. He went 8-of-10 from the charity stripe.

Grade: C+

 

Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves, Point Guard

Eventually, Ricky Rubio has to become at least moderately threatening as a scorer. He can't pick apart a great defense like Miami's with just one skill.

His passing is great, but that's all anyone has to pay attention to right now.

Against the Heat, he went 0-of-4 from the field and scored just one point. The six assists were nice, but were neutralized by six turnovers.

Grade: F

 

Nikola Pekovic, Minnesota Timberwolves, Center

Nikola Pekovic joined Martin in trying to replace Love's offense Saturday night. He put up a season-high 18 field-goal attempts but only made seven.

Despite his struggles shooting the ball, Pekovic was still the best Timberwolf Saturday night. He posted a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds and physically bullied Bosh in a few stretches.

Grade: B+

 

Corey Brewer, Minnesota Timberwolves, Small Forward

Yet another player who struggled to shoot the ball for the Wolves Saturday night. Corey Brewer went 3-of-10 from the field, but he finished with 13 points because of solid free-throw shooting. He also grabbed six rebounds.

On the other end, Brewer struggled with the unenviable task of covering LeBron James. But then, so does anyone else who draws that assignment. 

Grade: C

 

Luc Mbah a Moute, Minnesota Timberwolves, Power Forward/Small Forward

Speaking of unenviable tasks, how about trying to replace Love? That's what Luc Mbah a Moute was called upon to do against the Miami Heat.

Obviously, he didn't put up Love numbers, but Mbah a Moute was decent in 26 minutes of action. He scored 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting but grabbed only two rebounds.

Grade: C

 

J.J. Barea, Minnesota Timberwolves, Point Guard

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On a night when Minnesota desperately needed a spark on offense, J.J. Barea was unable to provide it in 19 minutes off the bench. He went 0-of-5 from the field and scored just two points.

He also did little to get his teammates on the second unit going, as he tallied just one assist.

Grade: F

 

Bench, Minnesota Timberwolves

With the exception of Robbie Hummel, Minnesota's bench was miserable Saturday night, going 5-of-27 from the field.

Hummel was 2-of-3 for eight points.

Grade: F

 

What's Next?

Heat

The Heat will have a shot at revenge against the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night at 6 p.m. ET in the Palace at Auburn Hills.

The Pistons beat the Heat, 107-97, earlier this week on Tuesday night. It was the first of what ended up being back-to-back losses. The last time Miami lost two straight, the team went on to win 13 of the next 14.

 

Timberwolves

The T-Wolves will also get the Pistons next, Tuesday night in Detroit at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Minnesota will definitely need Love back against the productive front line of Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. Otherwise, those two might go crazy on the boards.

 

For 140-character pearls of wisdom from Bleacher Report's Andy Bailey, follow him on Twitter: @AndrewDBailey.

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