MIAMI (AP) — Hassan Whiteside scored 23 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, Tyler Johnson scored 23 off the bench and the Miami Heat downed the Minnesota Timberwolves 123-105 on Friday night.
Goran Dragic scored 19 points and added 10 assists for Miami, which lost Dion Waiters to an ankle injury in the second quarter but moved to 23-5 in its last 28 games overall and 15-1 in its last 16 at home.
James Johnson scored 17 for the Heat, who never trailed and put the game away with a 15-2 run in the fourth quarter.
Karl-Anthony Towns had 31 points and 11 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who were 21 for 22 from the foul line. Andrew Wiggins scored 25 points and Ricky Rubio added 20 for Minnesota.
Waiters got hurt on a drive with 3:07 left in the first half. He was fouled by Wiggins, and Waiters’ left ankle twisted when he appeared to land on the foot of Minnesota’s Gorgui Dieng. Waiters immediately grabbed at the ankle and winced in pain and eventually got carried to the Heat locker room.
His night was therefore over by NBA rule when he couldn’t shoot his free throws; the Timberwolves chose Willie Reed to shoot for Miami, and he made one of two.
Rule or no rule, a return wasn’t happening anyway. Waiters was diagnosed with a sprain after X-rays came back negative.
Miami was up by nine when Waiters got hurt, and pushed the lead out to 64-49 by halftime. An 18-6 run by Minnesota to open the second half cut the Heat lead to three, but Tyler Johnson scored 15 of his points in the final 4:49 of the quarter and Miami was up 90-81 going into the fourth.
Whiteside gave Miami another scare midway through the fourth when he took a shot to his right shoulder, but he remained in the game and helped fuel the late burst that put it away.
Timberwolves: Rubio reached 20 points for the fourth consecutive game. … Minnesota has won its last four games at home, and lost its last four on the road. … Lance Stephenson (left ankle) was not with the team, and his second 10-day contract is expiring. … Minnesota has 14 games left, and only one (at Indiana on March 28) against the East.
Heat: Miami held a 60-26 edge in bench scoring. … Whiteside’s 11th consecutive double-double tied a Heat franchise record, set by Rony Seikaly in 1991-92. … Luke Babbitt made a 10-foot jumper in the opening minutes, significant because it was his first 2-point basket since Feb. 1. He was 0 for 8 inside the arc during that span.
There were watch parties in the Philippines — starting early Saturday morning there — to watch Heat-Timberwolves live, as part of the NBA’s Filipino Heritage Week. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is Filipino-American, and his staff got to eat some food from his mother’s homeland earlier this week such as pancit (a noodle dish) and lumpia (similar to a spring roll).
Minnesota is now 12 games under .500, and has been outscored by only 22 points this season. Atlanta, meanwhile, has been outscored by 48 points this season — and is six games over .500, sitting No. 5 in the East.
Timberwolves: Visit New Orleans on Sunday. Minnesota is 0-2 against the Pelicans this season.
Heat: Host Portland on Sunday. Miami is 0-5 on Sundays this season.
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