Oh, how long the road ahead winds.
These young Timberwolves saw that first hand tonight in Miami.
Of course, the rest of the league might soon find that out as well the first time they play the Heat.
All you had to do was look at the key matchups tonight -- the Beas vs. LeBron, Darko vs. Bosh, Wayne vs. Wade -- to give you how monumental of a leap lies ahead for such a Wolves team if they ever hope to someday be anything close to a contender.
This one was reasonably close until almost halftime.
The Wolves were within eight points with a minute left, then the Heat scored the final eight points -- two of them three-pointers by James Jones, who made five threes total and scored 17 points -- and it was good night, fare thee well.
LeBron toyed with 'em, being completely content playing playmaker in the first half (six points and his first and only field goal in that final minute but nine of his 12 assists) and then taking over with 14 third-quarter points and a vicious volleyball-spike of a block on young Wesley Johnson.
For more on that, check out tonight's game story here:
The best news of the night: Michael Beasley's scary fall in the second quarter left him apparently with only a bruised hip.
It look bad when he drove the lane, scored, drew the foul and went down hard.
It sounded worse for anyone anywhere near the court.
In great pain, he was unable to shoot the ensuing free throw -- Kosta Koufos did it for him -- and that's why for sure he never returned to the game. It's an NBA rule.
Whether he could have...that's not known. A couple players after the game described Beasley as in good spirits when they saw him in the locker room, but he was gone to the team bus by the time us reporters got into the room.
A couple other quick things:
* Darko didn't make a shot for the second time in the first four games. He went 0 for 5 tonight after going 0 for 6 Friday against Milwaukee. But unlike that Bucks game, he didn't have five blocks in this one. Didn't have a single one tonight, in fact. Every shot it seemed was that prayer of a left-handed hook shot or worse, a right-handed one.
* Darko's backup Nikola Pekovic had the best game of his very young NBA career so far, with 12 points and 8 rebounds. He also played a season-high 27-plus minutes beacuse this time,, for the first time, he didn't get in foul trouble
Don't know tonight if Beasley will feel well enough to play against the Magic, who unexpectedly got tonight off when its game against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden as a precaution before officials determined that debris that fell during a ceiling cleaning didn't contain asbestos.
Blog with you tomorrow from Orlando...