wolves gameday

7 p.m. Vs. Miami • Target Center • FSN •830-AM

Preview: Thanks to the debacle in Mexico City, the Wolves — who played a franchise-record 18 games by the end of November — have not played since Dec. 1, giving them a five-day break between games, which will be their second-longest stretch of the season. Minnesota has lost four of its past five games and two of its past three at home while falling to 9-10, 13th in the West. And the Wolves will be playing without F Kevin Love, who has returned home to Portland following the death of his grandmother. Miami, playing without Dwyane Wade, who was ill, lost by 20 in Chicago on Thursday, the team's second consecutive loss. Miami (14-5) still had the fifth-best winning percentage in the league entering Friday's games.

Players to watch: C Nikola Pekovic has averaged 20.5 points and 10 rebounds in his past four games. SG Kevin Martin (23.2) is eighth in the league in scoring. F Corey Brewer scored a season-high 27 points the last time the Wolves were without a starter. Heat F LeBron James is third in the league in scoring (25.7) and is averaging 5.7 rebounds and 6.1 assists. He has scored in double figures in 514 consecutive games. Wade (18.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.4 assists) blocked his 676th shot Dec. 1, passing Dennis Johnson for most by a guard 6-4 or shorter all-time.

Numbers: The Wolves have lost six in a row to the Heat, and all but one of those losses have come by 10 or more points. Miami hasn't lost three consecutive regular-season games since January 2012.

Injuries: Wolves F Chase Budinger (knee), C Ronny Turiaf (elbow) and F Kevin Love (personal) are out. Heat G Wade (ill) missed Wednesday's game but is not listed on the team's injury report.

Kent Youngblood