Pregame Notes | Wolves vs. Heat Tonight's Matchup
Miami leads the series 29-21, but the Wolves are 13-13 vs. the Heat in Minnesota. The two teams split the series in 2014-15 with each team winning on its home court.
With a win tonight, the Wolves will have started 3-1 for the third time in the last four seasons (2013-14, 2012-13) and the seventh time overall (also 2001-02, 1999-2000, 1998-99, 1997-98).
Karl-Anthony Towns ranks 9th in the NBA in rebounding (10.3), 7th in blocks (2.67) and 13th in field goal percentage (57.9%). He leads all rookies in the three aforementioned categories, as well as ranking 1st in free throw accuracy (88.9%) and 2nd in scoring (17.7).
Ricky Rubio ranks 2nd the NBA in assists (10.3 ppg) and is 1st in assist-to-turnover ratio (7.75-to-1). He grabbed 9 rebounds vs. Portland, the 12th time in his NBA career that he’s grabbed 9+ rebounds.
Kevin Martin ranks 2nd in the NBA in scoring off the bench with 20.3 ppg (Isaiah Thomas 23.5 ppg).
Kevin Garnett needs 86 minutes to become the 5th player in NBA history to amass 50,000 minutes (Abdul-Jabbar, K. Malone, Kidd, E. Hayes). He needs nine assists to tie Dave Bing for 46th place on the NBA all-time assists list (5,397). Garnett needs 43 points for 26,000 in his career.
The Wolves have made at least 30 free throws in all three games this season, matching the longest such streak in team history as well as the longest by any NBA team since Utah had five in a row in the 1997-98 season (Mar. 1-3-4-6-7). Minnesota is averaging 39 free throw attempts per game, while their opponents’ are averaging 25 per game.
The Wolves lead the NBA in opponent field goal percentage, allowing teams to shoot just 38.3% against them. The Wolves also rank 1st in fewest points allowed off turnovers with 10.3 per game.
Miami is 2-2 on the season, 0-1 on the road. The Heat has won six of the last seven games against the Wolves at Target Center.
Miami ranks 5th in the NBA in field goal percentage (46.3%), 8th in 3-point field goal percentage (35.2%) and 2nd in free throw percentage (83.8%).
Dwyane Wade has scored 20+ points in all four games this season, the fourth time in his career that he’s started a season with four consecutive 20+ outings, but the first since 2009-10. Wade is averaging 28.8 points per game in his last 13 contests against the Wolves
Hassan Whiteside ranks 2nd the NBA in field goal percentage at 76.3% (29-for-38) and tied for 5th in rebounding (11.0 rpg). He has shot 85.2% (23-for-27) over the last two games, the highest percentage by a Miami player in a two-game span with at least 25 attempts.
Wolves Press Clippings
Outlet: Dunking With Wolves
Author: Alex Monseth
Timberwolves Wrap: Wade Leads Heat To Victory Over Wolves The Wolves came into Thursday night’s game with a 2-1 record. Amount of games played aside, they were sitting third in the Western Conference based on winning percentage coming into a meeting with the Miami Heat.
Unfortunately, Minnesota looked nothing like a playoff team, and especially not in the highly competitive Western Conference.
The Wolves started off the game with a three-pointer from Andrew Wiggins, an encouraging start to be sure. Then, Minnesota jumped out to a 7-2 lead with nine minutes left in the quarter, but from then on, the momentum took a turn for the worse.
Dwayne Wade, who finished with 25 points, engineered a 20-8 run to close out the quarter. It was highlighted by a lob pass to Hassan Whiteside who finished the thunderous alley-oop slam, bringing the score to 22-15 after 12 minutes of play.
The second quarter consisted of the teams trading buckets with the Wolves slowly gaining traction to pull within three points with a minute left in the second quarter. Then, Dwayne Wade happened again.
Wade made a 17-foot jumper and drew a foul, then connected on another attempt, and finally, in star-like fashion, drained a half-court heave as time expired. Suddenly, it was 49-39 at the half.
From then on, Minnesota would get no closer than five points as the Heat attacked from all over the court with a conglomeration of players contributing towards the sustained lead in the second half.
All five starters for Miami finished in double digits. Dragic and Bosh were the main actors in supporting roles to Wade with 18 and 16 points, respectively.
Shabazz Muhammad was perhaps the lone bright spot for the Wolves. He played solid minutes in the third quarter and then forgot that he should probably leave the floor at the some point during the fourth quarter, keeping Minnesota within feasible striking distance until the end of the game.
Muhammad hustled seemingly non-stop, grabbing rebounds and attacking the basket. He finished with 14 points, 6 rebounds, and a block on the night.
Despite Muhammad’s tough play, the Heat simply played better team basketball. They shot 48.7% from the floor — not terrific, but easily good enough to overcome their opponent’s awful 35.3% shooting.
Ultimately, Miami stayed strong and held their lead until the end, finishing the Wolves off with a score of 96-84.
The loss is the Wolves second in a row and second straight at home. Minnesota remains winless at the Target Center after winning their first two games on the road.
Wade controlled the first half, maneuvering his way through the Wolves defense: pulling up for mid-range jumpers, taking it to the rim confidently and skillfully, and throwing lobs to the ceiling to find their way to Whiteside for slams.
It certainly didn’t look like he has lost a step in his game. At least on this night, anyway. After dominating the closing minutes of the second quarter, Wade capped it off by launching a shot from half court into the basket.
It was one of those crazy shots that you knew was going in before it actually did just because of who was shooting it. The Miami Heat legend was the best player on the floor and led his team to victory.
Stat of the Night:
Andrew Wiggins (12 points on 5-18 FG) and Karl-Anthony Towns (6 points on 3-13 FG) combined to score 18 points on 8 of 31 shooting.
Wiggins and Towns simply could not buy a bucket. It was painful to watch in the second half as neither of the young stars were making the shots they normally make.
For Towns, it’s his rookie season, and it’s expected that he’ll have games like this. For Wiggins, it’s another low-shooting percentage game to start off his sophomore campaign. Perhaps it’s too early to be concerned, but Wolves fans can’t exactly be overflowing with confidence after his recent performances.
Notable Timberwolves Lines:
Shabazz Muhammad – 14 points (5-10 FG, 4-5 FT), 6 rebounds, one block, one turnover