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Heat set franchise mark with 15th straight win
Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Dwyane Wade poured in 32 points and LeBron James shook off a sore knee to post a double-double, with the duo leading the Miami Heat to a franchise-record 15th consecutive win with a a 97-81 decision over the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center.
Wade added 10 assists in addition to going 15-of-23 from the field, while James put up 20 points and 10 rebounds despite being questionable to play coming in after twisting his left knee in Sunday's 99-93 victory at New York.
Ray Allen contributed 13 points to help the Heat surpass their previous club mark of 14 straight triumphs, set between Dec. 6, 2004-Jan. 1, 2005.
The injury-riddled Timberwolves, meanwhile, were dealt a sixth straight loss and fell to 4-22 in their last 26 games.
Derrick Williams paced Minnesota with a season-high 25 points, with Ricky Rubio recording 14 points, eight assists and six steals in the setback.
The Timberwolves were again without a pair of starters in center Nikola Pekovic (abdominal strain) and forward Andrei Kirilenko (strained calf), while All-Star Kevin Love (broken hand), guard Brandon Roy (knee) and swingman Chase Budinger (knee) remain sidelined as well.
James and Wade sparked an 11-0 first-quarter run that staked the Heat to an early 15-8 lead, and Miami stayed in front the rest of the way despite the undermanned Timberwolves' best efforts.
Minnesota trimmed an 11-point deficit down to four with a 9-2 spurt early in the second quarter, with Rubio coming up with a steal before feeding Alexey Shved for a transition layup to bring the Timberwolves within 31-27. Minnesota trailed by a 50-43 count at the break after Williams scored the last of his 12 first-half points on an inside bucket 47.3 seconds prior to the intermission.
Williams then began the second half with a triple to make it a four-point game, but Mario Chalmers and James knocked down back-to-back treys to ignite a 10-0 tear that gave Miami a 60-46 advantage four minutes into the third quarter.
Minnesota was able to significantly cut into Miami's lead, however. A Rubio three followed by Shved's fadeaway just prior to the third-period buzzer brought the margin down to six points heading into the fourth, and Luke Ridnour scored the first basket of the final frame to make it a 69-65 game.
The T-Wolves got a little closer shortly afterward, with Shved capping a 10-2 sequence with a 3-pointer that pulled his team within 71-68 with 10 minutes to go.
Miami took over from there, though, embarking on a 15-3 surge over the next 4 1/2 minutes to put the contest out of reach.
The pivotal run was aided by a flagrant 2 foul call on the Timberwolves' J.J. Barea for knocking Allen hard to the floor with 8:09 to go. With the Minnesota guard receiving an automatic ejection, Allen hit all three foul shots for an 89-80 Miami edge, and the Heat scored seven of the next eight points to pull away.
James' teams have now won 14 straight times when facing the Timberwolves, with the 10-year veteran's last loss against Minnesota coming on Nov. 26, 2005 while with Cleveland in his third season in the league ... Wade has now averaged 29.8 points in eight career visits to the Target Center ... Shved finished with 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting off the bench ... The Heat outscored Minnesota by a 58-32 margin in points in the paint and have now prevailed in the last six matchups between the teams.
03/04 22:46:18 ET