In fact, it would have been easy to give up against the Miami
Heat, who had the backing of their home fans in a game they really
wanted to win as they battle for the right to have home-court
advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs.
For an indication of how badly the Heat wanted to win this game,
look no further than star forward LeBron James' stat line: 34
points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists in 48 minutes.
Yet, the Wolves did not quit, nor did they take the easy way out.
Instead, they defeated the Heat 122-121 in double overtime Friday
night at AmericanAirlines Arena, getting one of two free throws by
forward Corey Brewer with 1.8 seconds left in the second extra
Heat guard Ray Allen then missed a shot at the buzzer, allowing the
drained Wolves to improve to 38-37 on the season.
"Great call," Brewer said with a laugh when asked about the foul.
"He pushed me in my back, (and) I made a free throw to win the
Forward Kevin Love had 28 points and a game-high 11 rebounds to lead
Minnesota also got 24 points from reserve forward Chase Budinger,
who made seven of nine shots, including five of seven on
Other Minnesota heroes included point guard Ricky Rubio, who had 13
points and a game-high 14 assists, and center Gorgui Dieng, who had
15 points and a game-high three blocks.
"We were not backing down from them," Wolves Coach Rick Adelman said
of his team. "I thought we had it won two or three times, and we
finally got it at the end.
"It shows that our guys are still competing. To beat the world
champions on the road — it was a great win."
Besides James, the Heat (52-23) got 24 points and nine rebounds from
forward Chris Bosh and 24 points and six assists from point guard
The Heat led by as many as 10 points in the second quarter before
the Wolves put together a 10-0 run and tied the score 52-52 at
Minnesota led by as many as nine points in the third quarter before
Both teams had a chance to win in the final 3.9 seconds of
regulation. Trailing by one,
Chalmers made just one of two free throws to tie the score 97-97.
On Minnesota's final possession of regulation, Love had a step-back
three-point try go in and out at the buzzer.
"I was under the basket," Rubio said, "and I thought it was going
In the first overtime, Love hit a jump hook with 14 seconds left to
put Minnesota up 109-108.
Chalmers again had a chance to win the game with 1.9 seconds left in
overtime, but he only made one of two free throws.
"I pride myself on being a clutch player," Chalmers said. "I feel
like I let my team down by missing those free throws."
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Love then missed a difficult shot from the corner to force double
In double OT, Love made a three-pointer with 29 seconds left to give
Minnesota a 119-117 lead.
Love then blocked a shot by James, who eventually got the ball back,
got fouled and made one of two free throws with 15 seconds left.
That left Minnesota up 119-118.
Point guard Jose Juan Barea, a player with strong Miami ties, made
two free throws with 13 seconds left to put Minnesota up 121-118.
But Bosh made a three-pointer at the top of the key to tie the score
121-121 with 10 seconds left, which set up Brewer's winning sequence
in which he drew the foul on Cole.
Allen, who scored 10 points from the fourth quarter on, returned
after missing five straight games due to a stomach flu that hit his
It was the third longest absence in Allen's 18-year career. He
missed 16 games in 2007 and 11 in 2012, both with ankle injuries.
Up next, Minnesota plays at Orlando Saturday before returning home
for three tough games — San Antonio, Chicago and Houston.
Meanwhile, Miami's five-game homestand concludes with games Sunday
vs. the New York Knicks and Tuesday vs. the Brooklyn Nets.
The Heat is still percentage points ahead of the Indiana Pacers in
the fight for the top seed in the East. The Pacers lost to the
Toronto Raptors earlier Wednesday.
"I'm over it," Bosh said of the battle with Indiana. "We've been
doing this for a month. We lose, they lose. We win, they win.
"It feels like this is going down to the wire, so we might as well
have fun with it."
NOTES: Minnesota PG Jose Juan Barea, who played his high school ball
at Miami Christian, made his first start of the season. He started
in place of SG Kevin Martin (foot injury). ... Heat SG Dwyane Wade
(hamstring) and C Greg Oden sat out their fifth game in a row. ...
Minnesota C Nikola Pekovic (ankle) missed his second straight game.
He has made 54 starts this season. ... With Pekovic out, C Giorgui
Dieng, fresh off his Western Conference Rookie of the Month award
for March, made his eighth start of the season. ... Minnesota C
Kevin Love had no triple-doubles in his first five NBA seasons, but
has three this season, including two in the past five games. ...
Minnesota announced Friday that it had released PG A.J. Price. ...
Minnesota F Dante Cunningham was not with the team after being
charged with domestic assault for allegedly attacking his girlfriend
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