103 - 101 Final
  for this game

Wade lifts Heat again, remain unbeaten

Dec 31, 2011 - 5:26 AM
Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - LeBron James celebrated his 27th birthday in style with another tight Miami victory. Dwyane Wade finished the job for a second straight game.

James scored 34 points and his inbounds pass to Wade resulted in the go-ahead alley-oop layup with 4.6 seconds left, as the Heat edged Minnesota, 103-101, spoiling a dazzling night for rookie Ricky Rubio.

On Wednesday, Wade's short jumper with 2.9 seconds left lifted the Heat to a 96-95 win at Charlotte. D-Wade was at it again two nights later. Playing despite a sore left foot, Wade curled around the lane and escaped Minnesota defenders to receive a perfect pass from James and converted the go-ahead bucket.

"It's not easy to win in this league on the road," Wade said. "Time is short and we're trying to get it going as fast as we can. We're trying to get our game and we still have a lot of work to do."

Rubio, who had 12 points and 12 assists, was bottled up on Minnesota's final possession. Wayne Ellington's jumper from the left wing caromed off the back of the rim as time expired.

James also had 10 assists, eight rebounds and four steals, while Wade scored 19, one less than teammate Chris Bosh. Miami's 4-0 start matches the club record, also set in 2004-05.

"We expected it. This is a very young and talented team," Bosh said of the close outcome. "We watched the game they had against Oklahoma City. We knew we were going to be in for a bell fight. They played a great game. We were able to execute down the stretch. We had to capitalize after a couple of costly turnovers at the end, but it all worked out."

Kevin Love totaled 25 points and 12 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who fell to 0-3, but have been outscored by just nine points in those contests.

"We're encouraged," Love said. "I think if we continue to do that we're going to win and it's going to be contagious. I just like the way we played. In order to get better, obviously we need to win games like this."

Minnesota rallied from a six-point fourth-quarter deficit by going on an 11-0 run. Derrick Williams, one of five bench players in double figures for the Timberwolves, nailed a three-pointer to cap the burst for an 88-83 difference with 7 1/2 minutes left.

Miami scored the next seven points and it stayed tight until the end. Wade's step-back jumper from the left wing moved the Heat to a 101-100 lead with 33.7 seconds left.

After Ellington air-balled a three-point try, Miami turned the ball over on a poor James outlet pass. Love then couldn't get a tough layup to fall, but Anthony Tolliver made 1-of-2 free throws with 8.1 on the clock to set up the incredible finish.

Miami led 31-20 after one quarter, but the sellout crowd of 19,356 at the Target Center shouted, "Rubio, Rubio!" as the rookie guard asserted himself in the second. He drained a right elbow jumper during a 14-0 Minnesota run. That bucket gave the Timberwolves the lead. He capped the spurt with a driving layup, turning that into a three-point play.

Rubio later made some nifty dribbling and tossed an alley-oop pass to Anthony Randolph, helping the hosts to a 53-51 edge at the break.

Miami held an 82-75 lead after three quarters.

James bowled over Tolliver after scoring, resulting in a three-point play, tying the game at 99 with 1:08 left. Tolliver went 1-of-2 from the foul line for a 100-99 Minnesota lead.

Game Notes

Timberwolves rookie guard Malcolm Lee underwent surgery Friday morning to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. The recovery time for the injury is typically six weeks...Rick Adelman, who remained winless in his new job as T'Wolves coach, was hit with a technical foul late in the first quarter...Randolph had 14 points...James went 16-of-26 from the field...The Timberwolves also played without guard J.J. Barea (strained left hamstring) and center Nikola Pekovic (strained left adductor muscle).