Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves (12-10) @ Miami Heat (15-6)

If Big Baby can throw up 28 points on 13-17 shooting, what can the Heat bring?

Miami has won three of four while limiting opponents to an average of 87.8 points after giving up 103.3 over the previous six.

It’s hard to take proclamations of defensive stoutness seriously when the outlier of those previous four games is the Washington Wizards 72-102 loss on Saturday — but the point stands, Miami is playing defense now. Watch out Wolves.

Heat probable starting lineup:

PG Mario Chalmers

SG Dwyane Wade

SF LeBron James

PF Udonis Haslem

C Chris Bosh

At 39 rebounds per game (29th in the league) Miami is more than vulnerable on the boards. Their offense takes the 11th most 3s in the league (20.5) making the 2nd best percentage (40.1%) while leading the league in field goal percentage (49.6%). They’re 2nd in the league in offensive efficiency and 3rd in assist rate. This isn’t as impressive as it could be until you remember James, Wade and Bosh can get their own, unassisted, just fine.

Ray Allen is playing ten minutes less than his career minutes average (26/36), shooting better from the field (49%/45%), and from 3 (47%/40%), while chipping in just two fewer points per game than last year in Boston (12/14) on just two fewer shots per game (10/8, 5/4 from 3). It’s safe to say taking his talents to South Beach has been a good decision for Allen so far.

LeBron is leading the Heat in points, rebounds and assists with 25/9/7 in 37 minutes a night. Look at those numbers again and tell me about Carmelo’s MVP status.

Wolves probable starting lineup:

PG Luke Ridnour

SG Alexey Shved

SF Andrei Kirilenko

PF Kevin Love

C Nikola Pekovic

Tough to win anywhere when you score as many points in the 2nd quarter as you do the 2nd half (32). Tough to win anywhere when your shooting guards combine to go 5-21 from the floor.

“Rubio watch” was relegated to Rubio watching the J.J. Barea show (6 assists, 13 shots (4 made) and no turnovers in 22 minutes) and forcing his own passes (3 turnovers) when he did get in on the action. Finishing 0-3 (1 missed 3), 2 rebounds (both offensive), 4 assists (3 aforementioned turnovers), 2 fouls and a steal in his limited minutes (16 this time out).

The Wolves welcomed Love back after a one game absence due to flu-like symptoms and saw him regain his scoring touch (23 points, 10-20 from the floor) if not his defensive awareness, getting embarrassed by Glen Davis, who seemed to actually get bored with dunking the ball. The Wolves attempted just 12 free throws in the game (making 8) while not making many from anywhere else on their way to shooting 40% (28% from 3).

For all of the talk of Shved recently finding his stroke, he’s actually shooting just 39% from the floor and 31% from 3 over his last 5. He’s been at 5 assists a night and a steal and a half a game, but his turnovers sit at just below 3 a night and he had 4 against Orlando. Tough lead-in to his matchup against Wade this evening.

Pek had 19 and 12 last night, with 4 turnovers. He’s shooting 55% from the floor and 86% from the line, getting there 4 times a game over his last 5. He was in the training room after the game, seeking attention on his sore back. Stay tuned…

Tags: Dwyane Wade Kevin Love LeBron James Miami Heat Minnesota Timberwolves Nikola Pekovic Preview Ricky Rubio

comments powered by Disqus