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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, December 18th (All times Eastern)

Minnesota Timberwolves (12-10) at Miami Heat (15-6), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The defending champion Miami Heat will try to build off of Saturday's victory Tuesday night when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Heat avenged an early-season loss to the Washington Wizards on Sunday, drubbing the woeful Wizards, 102-72.

Miami won the first quarter by 12 and took a 14-point lead into halftime. The Heat came out on fire in the third frame, winning that one 29-10 and the game was essentially over.

The Heat have gone 3-3 in their last six and perhaps more importantly than anything, Miami is almost totally healthy. LeBron James aggravated his shoulder on Wednesday against the Golden State Warriors, but he, and the whole team, participated in the Heat's last two practices.

"It was good to have another practice day," said head coach Erik Spoelstra. "Knock on wood, hopefully we can keep it going. It does feel good when you have an opportunity to have all of your guys out there and you're practicing and really be able to go through a work-out."

James is fine and Ray Allen got hit in the face and eye in a non-contact drill. He's also expected to be in the lineup Tuesday.

The T-Wolves head to South Beach after a loss on Monday night in Orlando to the Magic. Glen Davis had 28 points and, despite six Timberwolves in double- figures, the Magic dominated the second half.

Minnesota took a 12-point lead into the locker room, but Orlando won the third quarter by eight and the final frame by 13 to win going away.

"We missed a ton of shots in the second half," said head coach Rick Adelman. "We allowed them to get easy baskets. We missed 15 shots in the paint in the second half. I don't know why, but we could not make a shot."

The big men for the Timberwolves played well against the Magic. Kevin Love had 23 points and 15 rebounds, while Nikola Pekovic posted 19 points and 12 rebounds.

Ricky Rubio struggled a bit in his limited role. He played a little over 16 minutes, but didn't score a point. He had four assists, but also had three turnovers.

"He just has to relax," said Adelman. "He's playing limited minutes. I think he's just trying a little bit too hard. It'll come. It'll come in time."

Josh Howard is expected to miss Tuesday's game with a hyperextended right knee. Malcolm Lee will also be out with the same injury as Howard.

The Heat have won their last four against the Timberwolves, who had a four- game winning streak snapped in Orlando. Minnesota won in Miami two seasons ago.

12/18 10:40:20 ET

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