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Wade leads Miami past Minnesota

Dec 18, 2007 - 5:46 AM By Michael Snyder PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MIAMI (Ticker) -- Dwyane Wade took over down the stretch and made sure the Miami Heat wouldn't lose to the NBA's worst road team.

Wade scored 30 points, 14 in the crucial fourth quarter, and had a key steal in the final minute as the Heat defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves, 91-87, on Monday in match-up of the league's two worst teams.

Udonis Haslem had 18 points and Shaquille O'Neal added 15 as Miami (7-17) sent Minnesota (3-20) to its fifth straight loss.

"Finally, in the fourth quarter, we started making something," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "But the key was making crucial stops at the right time."

Al Jefferson led Minnesota with 22 points and 20 rebounds and Rashad McCants added 19 points off the bench.

The Timberwolves have won just once in 12 road games while Miami ended a three-game home losing streak.

Wade, who missed 13 of his first 15 shots, knocked the ball away from McCants with 51 seconds left and the Heat holding on to a three-point advantage. His two free throws with 10 seconds left sealed the game.

"Some nights you shoot the shot the same as you shoot every other night but it doesn't go in," Wade said. "So anytime it's not going in you get frustrated. I have the luxury to be able to keep going if I miss three or four shots and I shoot again I can shoot more than that until I get my rhythm back.''

Wade did most of his damage at the line where he made 18 of 20 free throws, which ties the Lakers' Kobe Bryant for most made free throws in a game this season.

"I was going to keep shooting," Wade added. "Not just shooting jumpers but keep attacking. I knew we were into penalty. I got to the rim so if they didn't foul me I'd have a better opportunity to finish, so they put me on the line a lot."

Miami trailed 64-60 heading into the final quarter, but a 13-4 run capped by a 16-foot jumper from the left corner by Haslem with 3:23 to play put the Heat up by five, 81-76.

"Udonis Haslem made some big shots," McCants said. "Alonzo (Mourning) got some big rebounds and Wade lived at the free throw line. That's what got them the win."

Miami led 27-24 after one quarter despite missing 14 of 23 shots.

The Timberwolves led by seven in the first half on a three-point play by Ryan Gomes with 1:42 to play. Jefferson and McCants each had 13 points in the first half as Minnesota led 47-41 at the break.

The game was ugly as neither team shot better than 38 percent.

"It was nothing they did," Minnesota coach Randy Wittman said of the Heat. "Dwyane Wade had the ball in his hands for 24 seconds usually. "They didn't do anything differently than they did in the first half."

Minnesota was without former Heat forward Antoine Walker, who missed his second game with an ankle sprain.

Only the Timberwolves have a worse home record (2-9) than Miami (3-8).

Gutting out a win over Minnesota made the Heat feel better about their fortunes - but not by that much.

"It's a step in the right direction," Haslem said. "That's it. It feels good to get a win, but I'm not really satisfied with the win. We have a lot more work to do."

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