Heat continue push to No. 1 seed, host Minnesota
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Miami Heat will continue their quest toward the top seed in the Eastern Conference when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves Friday from AmericanAirlines Arena.
The Heat sit percentage points ahead of the Indiana Pacers for conference supremacy and have won four in a row. They have defeated the Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks to start a five-game homestand and registered a 96-77 triumph over the Bucks on Wednesday behind a balanced attack.
LeBron James (17), Chris Bosh (15) and Mario Chalmers (14) scored in double figures for the Heat, who shot 51 percent from the floor and improved to 30-6 in South Beach. The Heat have won their last five home games.
"Our main focus is to try and get ready for that first round opponent," said Chalmers. "Finish the season out on a strong note and make sure everyone is healthy."
Miami, which has held opponents to 80.0 ppg in the last six contests, will try to improve its 11-3 home record versus Western foes Friday night and also has New York and Brooklyn scheduled to pay a visit.
Heat guards Ray Allen (virus) and Dwyane Wade (hamstring/Achilles) and center Greg Oden (back) are all questionable Friday night.
Minnesota ended a two-game slide its last time out with a 102-88 victory versus the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday.
Kevin Love recorded his second triple-double in four games, posting 24 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists, while Kevin Martin and Ricky Rubio tallied 21 and 14 points, respectively.
"We wanted to find some sense of motivation and that's what we found tonight," Love said. "We just wanted to knock off a team that is fighting right now."
T'Wolves center Nikola Pekovic (ankle) missed the game and is listed as questionable against the Heat.
The Wolves, winners in three of five games, have lost three in a row on the road and have a 15-22 mark as the visitor. They will close out a tour of Florida in Orlando Saturday night.
Minnesota dropped a 103-82 home decision to the Heat on Dec. 7, as James posted 21 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists. Miami has won seven in a row against Minnesota and is 11-3 in the previous 14 meetings as the host.
04/04 10:11:36 ET