Down four, James and Wade led the Heat on a 9-3 run to close out the game, including an alley-oop layup by Wade on an inbounds pass from James with six seconds left that gave the Heat a two-point, 103-101, lead for good.
Minnesota did not take good shots down the stretch, deferring to Wayne Ellington on their final two possessions. Ellington finished 5-of-13 shooting off the bench.
Rookie point guard Ricky Rubio was definitely a bright spot for the T-Wolves, though, as he finished with a double-double, 12 points and 12 assists (opposite five turnovers) off the bench. He also had six rebounds. Kevin Love had 25 points and 12 rebounds.
The Timberwolves are now 0-3 on the young season and their quest for their first win doesn't get any easier -- they open the New Year with a game against Dallas.
After news that the Minnesota Timberwolves would be without J.J. Barea for Friday's game against the Miami Heat, the playing field is leveled - slightly - by an injury on the opposing side. Dwyane Wade isn't sure if he's going to be in action for the game, with a lingering foot injury affecting his movement and shooting. Wade eluded to his status, via Ethan Skolnick on Twitter:
Wade calls himself a game-time decision.
He tested his ankle during a shootaround Friday morning, going through many of the motions several times over. He tried jumping up and down, driving to the basket harder than usual to see if the soreness prevented him from playing. He'll wait until just before the game to make a decision of whether or not he's risking a serious injury, or potentially playing in a significant amount of pain. This is actually the first point in which anybody had heard that Wade could miss the game.
Wade hit the game-winner in Charlotte on Wednesday.
There was some good news on Thursday regarding the Minnesota Timberwolves' J.J. Barea, as they both found out his hamstring was simply strained, as opposed to torn. Barea said that it was much better, no tearing, but that it was swollen and bruised. There was a lot of doubt about his status for Friday's game against the Miami Heat. Now it's confirmed that he won't be playing, according to the Star Tribune.
Meanwhile, Barea said he'll give his hamstring another day to deal and then will try practicing fully on it tomorrow before Sunday's game against his former Dallas team.
Even on Thursday, Barea had targeted Sunday for a potential return, and most are speculating it's because he wants to take on the Mavericks. He said that it was "just another game," but had a telling smile the whole time. As it's so early in the season, it's smart to sit out games and give injuries, especially those to the hamstring, a chance to heal.
The Wolves will have just ten healthy players against the Heat, with center Nikola Pekovic and Malcolm Lee also missing the game with injuries.