MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — LeBron James and the Miami Heat rebounded nicely from a two-game skid.
James had 21 points, eight assists and 14 boards for his first double-digit rebounding game of the season, leading the Heat to a 103-82 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night.
Dwyane Wade had 19 points and five rebounds in his return from a two-game absence and the Heat controlled the glass until garbage time after getting hammered on the boards by Detroit and Chicago in consecutive losses. James’ 14 boards tied his high in a Heat uniform.
Kevin Martin scored 19 points for the Timberwolves. But they sorely missed Kevin Love, who was with his family following the death of his grandmother on Wednesday night.
The Wolves shot a season-low 29.3 percent while the Heat made 55 percent of their shots to overcome 20 turnovers.
The Heat haven’t lost three in a row in the regular season since January 2012.
And James wasn’t about to revisit that slide.
The Heat were bludgeoned on the boards 49-27 by the Bulls on Wednesday night and 46-34 by the Pistons on Tuesday night. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra spoke on Saturday morning of needing all five players on the floor to attack the glass because they don’t have a singular rebounding force like the Wolves do.
Despite having to go to the bench earlier than usual with two fouls in the first quarter, James still managed to rack up 10 rebounds before the first half was over. He posted his highest rebounding total since his last season in Cleveland, when he grabbed 16 against Sacramento on Dec. 23, 2009. Minnesota just barely won the rebounding battle, 45-44.
The night was punctuated in the third quarter when Wade threw a pass off the glass to a soaring James for a 71-57 lead.
Wade missed the previous two games, first with knee soreness and then because of an illness. He suffered a scare in the first quarter when he appeared to bang his right knee as he crashed to the court. He writhed in pain for a few minutes, but was able to get up and keep going.
Nikola Pekovic had 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Wolves, who were playing after a game against San Antonio in Mexico City on Wednesday night was postponed due to smoke in the arena.
Minnesota point guard Ricky Rubio struggled mightily with one point on 0-for-4 shooting, six assists and six turnovers.
NOTES: Chris Bosh had nine rebounds for the Heat. … Love is expected to practice Sunday and be in uniform for the Wolves’ next game against the Pistons on Tuesday. … The Heat stayed in a hotel just across the street from the arena, but took a bus for the morning shootaround as most teams do. Spoelstra usually walks when he’s here. But a wind chill that dipped to 15-below zero made him think otherwise. “I had to make it from the door to the bus,” Spoelstra said. “Those 10 steps were about as tough as it gets.”
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