Miami Heat rout Minnesota Timberwolves for fourth straight win
By AP Feed FoxSports
LeBron James isn't sure that he wants to be called a point guard.
There's no arguing he can play like one.
Dwyane Wade led all scorers with 26 points, James added 20 points and a game-high 12 assists - the most ever by a Heat forward, according to STATS LLC - and Miami rolled to its fourth straight win, 129-97 over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night.
"Just taking what the defense gives me," James said. "I think D-Wade carried the scoring load in the first half, and when you have that, you don't have to worry about scoring as much. I just tried to attract as much defense as possible. I know there's not one guy that can stop me from getting to anywhere on the floor."
James said he played with "very minor" leg soreness, a result from getting bumped in Sunday's win over New Jersey.
Wade made 12 of 17 shots for Miami, which has outscored opponents by 22.8 points per game since losing the season-opener in Boston last week. And for Wade, it was the first time in his career that he scored more than 25 points while playing less than 25 minutes.
"There's only five players on the court," Wade said. "You can't cover the whole floor. You leave somebody to do something and I was able to do something for the team."
James Jones hit five 3-pointers and scored 17 for the Heat, who got 15 from Eddie House (on a 4-for-4 night from 3-point range), 13 from Chris Bosh and 11 from Udonis Haslem.
Michael Beasley's return to Miami was one that will stay with him for a few days - in the form of a bruised hip.
The former Heat forward left with about 8 minutes remaining until halftime after scoring on a drive, but tumbling awkwardly to the floor and slamming his left side on the hardwood. He scored 11 points, and X-rays were negative.
"It's unfortunate," Minnesota coach Kurt Rambis said. "Right now we don't have the luxury of having someone like him, a starter, being out of the ballgame."
Beasley's status for Wednesday's game at Orlando is unclear, Rambis said. Kevin Love led Minnesota with 20 points on 7-for-11 shooting.
It was Miami's highest-scoring non-overtime game since beating Phoenix 135-129 on March 4, 2009. Minnesota gave up at least 130 points five times last season alone, all in regulation.
Sebastian Telfair and Wes Johnson each scored 13 for Minnesota, which stayed with the Heat for much of the first half. Miami's lead was only 50-44 when Wade got free for a dunk with 5 minutes left until halftime, kickstarting what became a 44-22 run over the next 16 minutes.
Nikola Pekovic scored 12 for Minnesota.
"We have a lot of young guys on our team," Rambis said. "They got a taste of guarding some of the elite players in our league. Our team got a taste of just how powerful a team can be."
Miami shot 58 percent, and to think James wasn't even doing much of the scoring.
He turned down shots in the first half to make extra passes, and his 12 assists were distributed among eight different Heat players. By the time James got his second basket of the night - a layup with 9:12 to play in the third quarter - the Heat were already leading by a comfortable 79-58 margin.
"What I saw tonight out of LeBron was a high IQ game," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "He managed and dissected the game with his mind. He was baiting two guys on him, really playing with a poised tempo. He wasn't 100 percent tonight, but was able to make plays and really set up guys with wide-open shots."
James hit 6 of 8 shots in the third quarter, scoring 14 of his points, then took the fourth quarter off as Miami's reserves completed the runaway.
Even when he wasn't scoring, James was highly active.
Johnson tried to drive for a layup in the third quarter, only to have James swat his try out of bounds, then grab the ball and twirl it a bit while smiling and posing for courtside fans. For good measure, James gave Johnson a wink, and Wade was still grinning a minute after that play was over.
"It was like he had a radar on the ball or something when he went up," Johnson said.
The Heat led by as many as 34 in the final minutes.
Notes: Wade is averaging 24.8 points during Miami's four-game winning streak, after missing the preseason with a strained hamstring. ... Another stat oddity for James: In 519 career games where he's scored at least 20 points (including playoffs), he'd never finished with zero rebounds - before Tuesday. ... Minnesota's Darko Milicic - the No. 2 pick in the draft where James went No. 1, Bosh No. 4 and Wade No. 5 - missed all five of his shots. ... Lamar Odom had 11 assists for Miami during a triple-double effort March 6, 2004 against Sacramento, which until Tuesday was the most ever by a Heat forward.