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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Miami Heat were pummeling the young Minnesota Timberwolves into submission, but couldn’t quite get the knockout punch they were looking for.
Dwyane Wade delivered it. In a flash.
Wade showed no ill effects from a migraine headache two days ago, scoring 25 points to lead the Heat to a 96-84 victory over the Timberwolves on Thursday night.
Wade’s 60-foot heave at the end of the first half punctuated a dazzling final 3 minutes that turned a three-point lead into a 10-point advantage. In a game in which the Timberwolves couldn’t make a shot, that was more than enough.
“It was a good moment,” Wade said. “I just watched it on Instagram and I (saw) the team. A lot of guys knew it was in when I shot it. Just a cool moment.”
Chris Bosh had 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Heat, who were playing one day after reserve guard Gerald Green was hospitalized for unspecified reasons. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Green’s condition had improved by Thursday, but it remained unclear why he was hospitalized and how long he will be away.
Shabazz Muhammad had 14 points and six rebounds on a brutal shooting night for the Timberwolves, who shot just 35 percent from the field. Andrew Wiggins was 5 for 18 and Karl-Anthony Towns made just 3 of 13 shots.
“We didn’t play like a team tonight,” Muhammad said. “We played like a bunch of individuals. That’s something we have to learn. I know we have a lot of young guys, but it’s about winning.”
Goran Dragic added 18 points as all five Heat starters scored in double figures and outscored Minnesota’s starters 81-29.
Wade suffered a migraine in the third quarter against Atlanta on Tuesday, but he was able to finish the game. He looked like his old self on Thursday and helped Miami close the first half.
Wade scored on a drive, fed Bosh for a dunk and schooled Wiggins on a pump-fake jumper that drew a foul. And just when the Wolves were hoping to limp into the half with a manageable seven-point deficit, Wade poked the ball away from Ricky Rubio and let it fly as the buzzer sounded. Splash.
Wade blew a “3 kiss” to the crowd, and kept working the young Wolves the rest of the way. He made 11 of 19 shots and is one of only six players in the league to score at least 20 points in every game this season.
“You love to see it because when we see him at the facility as much as the staff, what you see is the commitment,” Spoelstra said. “Players have to adapt with age and hopefully he’s like a fine wine.”
Hassan Whiteside had 12 points and nine rebounds for Miami. He blocked four shots but altered countless others in a dominant effort in the paint.
Heat: The Heat lead 22-15 after the first quarter, their first lead going into the second quarter this season. … Heat G Josh Richardson made his NBA debut, playing 7 minutes. … Spoelstra went with a lineup full of left-handed shooters twice, with Josh McRoberts, Bosh, Tyler Johnson, Justise Winslow and Dragic.
Timberwolves: Kevin Martin scored 14 points. … Rubio had nine points and five assists in 23 minutes. Towns played 23 minutes. … Andre Miller made his season debut, going scoreless in 4 minutes.
Heat guard Mario Chalmers did not play while resting a sore right knee. The night off may have been as good for him mentally as it was physically after a harrowing couple of days. Chalmers was the subject of trade rumors earlier this week, then rode in the ambulance as Green was rushed to the hospital on Wednesday. “You know I just tried to be there for my teammate,” Chalmers said.
Timberwolves coach Sam Mitchell isn’t one for flowery praise, but he spoke glowingly of Bosh before the game. Mitchell coached Bosh in Toronto from 2004-08. “He will always have a special place in my heart,” Mitchell said. “As a young coach, he just made my life so much easier.” Bosh joked that Mitchell was “the loudest” coach he’s ever played for. “He was kind of my vet and my coach all at the same time. He mentored me quite a bit,” Bosh said. “I think he’s going to be very good for Towns and Wiggins and all the young fellas here.”
Heat: Visit Indiana on Friday.
Timberwolves: Visit Chicago on Saturday.
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