Final

Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 11/16

Game 1: Tuesday, November 16th
Heat97Final
Timberwolves108
Game 2: Thursday, March 10th
Timberwolves90Final
Heat107

Heat 97

(5-3, 2-2 away)

Timberwolves 108

(4-2, 3-1 home)

Coverage: KSTC

7:00 PM ET, November 16, 2004

Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

1 2 3 4 T
MIA 17 30 19 3197
MIN 27 30 24 27108

Top Performers

Miami: D. Wade 25 Pts, 2 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

Minnesota: K. Garnett 25 Pts, 21 Reb, 8 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

Garnett comes up two assists shy of triple-double

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Dwyane Wade returned from his injury and played an amazing first half. The NBA MVP just did his usual thing, from start to finish.

Kevin Garnett came close to another triple-double, finishing with 25 points, 21 rebounds and eight assists for the Minnesota Timberwolves in a 108-97 victory over the Miami Heat on Tuesday night.

"That was an incredible performance," teammate Fred Hoiberg said.

Wade, after missing the last two games with a sprained left ankle, scored 20 of his 25 points in the first half for the Heat. Shaquille O'Neal added 20 points and 15 rebounds.

Garnett stole the show, though -- surpassing 14,000 career points and guiding Minnesota's best all-around effort of the season. Wally Szczerbiak scored 21 points, and Sam Cassell added 19.

"Fourteen thousand, all with the T-Wolves -- that says something in this day and age," Szczerbiak said.

The Timberwolves were ahead for the final 40-plus minutes, building a lead as big as 22 when Eddie Griffin hit a 3-pointer to make it 102-80 with 6½ minutes left. Miami used an 11-0 run to pull to 102-91, but Garnett ended the spurt by sinking a 21-footer with 1:24 left.

What has made Garnett so great has been his ability to make everyone else on his team better.

"I thought we shared the ball exceptionally well," he said. "Wally was on fire. Sam was on fire. We knew we had to control Shaq, and I thought that we did a pretty good job of that."

The highlight came in the third quarter when Garnett drove the lane, spun and put up a one-handed bank shot as he collided with O'Neal and fell to the court. The ball went in, the Big Diesel was whistled for a foul and Garnett made the free throw for a 72-59 advantage.

The Big Ticket has topped his team in scoring and rebounding in all six games this season, and he's been the assists leader in five. Szczerbiak, who missed most of last season due to injury, was the biggest beneficiary of some good passing by Garnett and Cassell.

"Wally can score with the best of them," Garnett said. "When he's patient, he gets the shots he wants."

The Heat, who dropped to 0-3 against the Western Conference, could use some more practice time to find a better rhythm with O'Neal and all their other new players. They've had only six off days since the regular season started.

"I like the guys we have on this team," O'Neal said. "The guys were playing hard, no question about that, but we were making very, very silly mistakes."

Hurt in Thursday's loss to Dallas, Wade wasn't sure whether he could come back this soon -- but there were no signs of him being slowed by that bad ankle.

He scored 16 of Miami's 19 points during a five-minute surge midway through the second quarter. Wade made a layup, stole the ball on a careless bounce pass from Cassell to Garnett at the other end and drove unabated for a fast-break dunk that cut Minnesota's lead to 44-40.

"He just single-handedly kept them in the game in the first half," Hoiberg said.

Wade, who missed 21 games during his standout rookie season with various injuries, is already one of the league's best all-around players at age 24 -- with a scoring average of 25.5 points per game. He's still prone to lapses, however.

"In the second half, he tried to take over and really forced things," Heat coach Stan Van Gundy said. "He made some of the worst decisions in the second half that he's made all season."

Wade, scoreless in the third quarter, made more of an effort to get the ball inside to O'Neal in the second half. But Miami is looking for more consistency from him -- and everyone else.

"We've got to come out with more fire," Wade said. "We've got to come out with what's inside of us."

Game notes


This was Garnett's 25th career game with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds. He became the 16th player in NBA history to reach 14,000 points, 7,000 rebounds and 3,000 assists. ... O'Neal went 8-for-15 at the free-throw line, a marked improvement over his 5-for-17 effort Sunday against Milwaukee. He raised his season percentage to 39.6. ... Minnesota's Troy Hudson will put on a rap concert at Target Center on Dec. 18. Hudson, whose stage name is T-Hud, will perform tracks from his debut album, "The Stress of Both Worlds." ... Wade will return Wednesday to the city where he starred in college, with Marquette, when Miami visits Milwaukee.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
MIA
MIN
Points 97 108
FGM-FGA 34-74 (.459) 39-88 (.443)
3PM-3PA 4-13 (.308) 6-13 (.462)
FTM-FTA 25-36 (.694) 24-27 (.889)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 13-42 19-49
Assists 17 22
Turnovers 15 11
Steals 4 7
Blocks 7 1
Fast Break Points 2 2
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (0/0) 23 (1/0)

Top Performers

Miami
Minnesota
Dwyane Wade Wade
Points: 25
Reb: 2
Ast: 6
Stl: 1
Blk: 1
Kevin Garnett Garnett
Points: 25
Reb: 21
Ast: 8
Stl: 2
Blk: 1