Sunday , Jan , 01 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Heat turns up defense to rout Timberwolves

Miami, FL (Sports Network) – Dwyane Wade scored 19 points, dished out nine
assists and grabbed six rebounds to lead the Miami Heat to a 97-70 rout of the
Minnesota Timberwolves at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Wade spearheaded a key third-quarter run that gave the Heat the lead for good
and Miami used a tough defense to hold Minnesota to only 26 second-half
points.

Shaquille O’Neal added 16 points and seven rebounds and Alonzo Mourning had 13
points and 10 boards, as the Heat won their second straight and fourth of
five.

Kevin Garnett was held to 11 points and 11 boards and Wally Szczerbiak had a
team-high 19 points for the Timberwolves, who have dropped two in a row and
eight of 10.

Miami trailed for nearly the entire first half before gaining control in the
second.

The Heat’s only lead of the opening 24 minutes came when Udonis Haslem sank
the first bucket of the game. Minnesota responded with the next six points,
never trailed and went into the second quarter ahead 23-15.

The Heat cut the deficit to three, 44-41, heading into halftime and came out
for the third quarter on fire.

Miami scored the first seven points of the second half and used an 18-4 burst
to open up a 59-48 advantage. O’Neal’s bucket inside the first minute of the
third quarter gave the Heat a 45-44 edge, and Wade had seven points during the
surge, which was capped by an Mourning bucket for an 11-point cushion.

The Heat extended the advantage to 66-50 later in the quarter before going
into the fourth with a 73-59 advantage.

“We hit a wall,” Minnesota head coach Dwane Casey said. “We hit a freight
train in the third quarter. We couldn’t execute, we couldn’t shoot and we
couldn’t score.”

Minnesota managed only 11 fourth-quarter points and the Heat won the game
going away. Miami led by as many as 32 points when Antoine Walker drained a
three-pointer in the final minutes.

“The second half was like night and day from the first,” said Miami head coach
Pat Riley, who is 8-3 since his return to the bench. “We were so far out of
sync at both ends of the court. To be quite frank, when we were down 21-5, we
were blessed.”

Game Notes

This was the first meeting of the season between these two clubs…Miami
improved to 12-4 at home…Minnesota fell to 5-8 on the road…This was the
Heat’s largest margin of victory this year…The 70 points were a season-low
for the Timberwolves and also a season-low allowed for Miami.

MIA MIN