Final
  for this game

Cellar-dwelling Timberwolves, Heat look for rare win

Dec 17, 2007 - 3:09 PM Minnesota (3-19) at Miami (6-17) 7:30 pm EST

MIAMI (Ticker) -- Both the Minnesota Timberwolves and Miami Heat knew the early part of the season would be challenging as they adjusted to new personnel. Neither team likely expected it would be this tough.

The two teams with the worst records in the NBA try to improve their win totals when the Timberwolves visit the Heat on Monday.

After an offseason of change - headlined by the trade of franchise superstar Kevin Garnett to Boston - Minnesota overhauled most of its roster in an effort to rebuild around Al Jefferson.

However, the Timberwolves have had little time to blend with multiple injuries, leading to an offense that is averaging just 92.8 points per game (fifth-worst in the league) and a defense that is struggling to keep opponents off the scoreboard (101.1 points per game).

As a result, the Timberwolves - who are on a four-game skid - have already endured three five-game losing streaks this season.

The Timberwolves struggled through an awful third quarter Saturday en route to their third straight loss, a 95-92 setback to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Craig Smith scored 30 points and Jefferson added 23 and 15 rebounds for Minnesota, which managed just 16 points in the third quarter.

The Heat had their own personnel changes to overcome, missing star Dwyane Wade for the first seven games of the season due to knee and shoulder surgeries and integrating guard Ricky Davis into the lineup after he came over in a trade from Minnesota.

While Wade and Davis are averaging nearly 38 points per game, the Heat are off the their worst 23-game start since 2002-03 - a season in which they finished 25-57 - and the season before they selected Wade.

Miami has dropped seven of its last nine games, including Saturday's 106-103 setback to the Indiana Pacers.

Wade scored 24 points and dished out nine assists for the Heat, who fell to 2-8 at home.








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