Rubio, Wolves push Heat to the end

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 31, 2011 - 9:05 AM

Ricky Rubio picked apart Miami with slick passes before a James-to-Wade hookup did in the Wolves.

view larger photos

  

Those fans who arrived to Target Center on Friday night wearing solemn black No. 6 LeBron James jerseys or fiesta-colored sombreros each got what they wanted in Miami's tense 103-101 victory over the Timberwolves.

Those who came to see the Heat's big-top circus saw exactly what Wolves coach Rick Adelman predicted they would -- a slam-dunk exhibition -- if his team continued to throw the ball over the place, as they did again Friday to the tune of 25 turnovers.

They saw James score on fast-break alley-oop dunks and windmill slams -- "Like a wide receiver," Wolves forward Kevin Love said -- before he finished the game by finding teammate Dwayne Wade with a lob pass off a set play for the eventual winning basket with 4.6 seconds left.

Those fans who gathered high in Section 121 -- the ones dressed in shades of lime, orange and lemon, sporting giant ol' sombreros and chanting "Olé, olé, olé" like they do at foreign soccer games -- came to celebrate a new, exciting day in Wolves history.

Never mind that they had transported themselves to the wrong continent.

"From Spain, you know?" Wolves rookie point guard Ricky Rubio said with a smile about his homeland when asked about fans who cheered him in Mexican apparel.

Those fans saw Rubio assume command of a Wolves team and orchestrate a comeback from a 13-point first-half deficit with the kind of promise that left the Heat coach and players accusing the Wolves of something few opposing coaches have in recent years.

"I'm glad we played them early because later they're going to be trouble," Wade said. "Timberwolves fans are going to have something to cheer about."

The Wolves led by five points with 7 1/2 minutes left and by three with 73 seconds left. But in the end, the Heat prevailed -- and the Wolves extended their club-record losing streak to 18 games, dating to last season -- because the young home team again committed too many turnovers, missed too many free throws in the crunch and simply rushed when it once again needed to be composed.

"Sooner or later you have to keep through it and give yourself a win at the end," Adelman said. "If they stay with it, they'll do that."

Down the stretch, Adelman turned to Rubio and a group of reserves who outscored the Heat bench 57-21 and notably left starter Michael Beasley, who fought foul trouble all game, and three other starters on the bench for the entire fourth quarter.

Rubio responded with a 12-point, 12-assist, six-rebound performance -- the first Wolves player to reach those numbers since Sam Cassell did so in 2004 -- that fueled a lineup that also included Love, Wayne Ellington, Derrick Williams and Anthony Randolph or Anthony Tolliver.

That group had the Heat reeling in those final 73 seconds, but Rubio perhaps continued to push the ball when he should have pulled his teammates. He passed ahead to Williams, who inadvertently stepped out of bounds. Then he threw a wild pass low and outside to Ellington and out of bounds.

Those two turnovers provided the Heat with the opening it needed, and James and Wade took it. First, James drove the lane and scored on a three-point play that tied the game with 1:08 remaining and left the Wolves bench screaming for a charging call.

Then with the score once again tied in the final 10 seconds, the Heat freed Wade for his second winning basket in three nights on the road when the Wolves failed to switch and cover him in time.

"We knew what was coming," Williams said. "We were right. We just weren't there at the right time."

  • related content

  • Postgame: Adelman shakes up playing time

    Saturday December 31, 2011

    Dwyane Wade scores game-winner with 4.6 seconds left

  • For LeBron, game day/birthday is combo blessing

    Saturday December 31, 2011

    LeBron James turned 27 years old and reflective all at the same time on Friday.

  • Recap: Miami 104, Wolves 102

    Saturday December 31, 2011

    A game-time decision because of a sore foot, the Heat star hit a winning basket for the second game in a row, this time scoring off LeBron James' alley-oop pass...

  • Lee has knee surgery, could be out six weeks

    Friday December 30, 2011

    Surgery is on same knee he injured last season at UCLA

  • How LeBron has done on his birthday

    Friday December 30, 2011

    The Timberwolves caught LeBron James on his birthday Friday, when he turned 27. That sort of timing has never been good for his opponents. Numbers from the five times he...

  • Wolves guard Ricky Rubio headed downcourt to the crowd's delight after he hit a three-point shot from the corner to put the Wolves ahead late Friday. Miami won 103-101.

  • MIAMI 103, WOLVES 101

    Up next: 6 p.m. Sunday vs. Dallas • Target Center • TV: FSN (830-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Minnesota 16 FINAL
Buffalo 17
Atlanta 7 FINAL
Baltimore 29
Tennessee 17 FINAL
Washington 19
Seattle 26 FINAL
St. Louis 28
Cleveland 6 FINAL
Jacksonville 24
Cincinnati 0 FINAL
Indianapolis 27
Miami 27 FINAL
Chicago 14
New Orleans 23 FINAL
Detroit 24
Carolina 17 FINAL
Green Bay 38
Kansas City 23 FINAL
San Diego 20
Arizona 24 FINAL
Oakland 13
NY Giants 21 FINAL
Dallas 31
San Francisco 17 FINAL
Denver 42
Houston 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Boston 95 FINAL
Brooklyn 90
Minnesota 112 FINAL
Oklahoma City 94
Golden State 83 FINAL
Houston 90
Charlotte 96 FINAL
Chicago 101
Utah 91 FINAL
LA Lakers 98
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
San Jose 0 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Calgary 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
St. Louis 0 FINAL
Anaheim 3
TX-San Antonio 20 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 27
Syracuse 30 FINAL
Wake Forest 7
Purdue 38 FINAL
Minnesota 39
Western Ky 38 FINAL
Fla Atlantic 45
(12) Baylor 27 FINAL
(22) West Virginia 41
(11) Kansas State 31 FINAL
(17) Oklahoma 30
Iowa 31 FINAL
Maryland 38
So Florida 38 FINAL
Tulsa 30
Tulane 13 FINAL
UCF 20
Virginia 13 FINAL
Duke 20
Akron 20 FINAL
Ohio U 23
Western Mich 26 FINAL
Bowling Green 14
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
Massachusetts 36
Appalachian St 53 FINAL
Troy 14
(25) UCLA 36 FINAL
California 34
Texas A&M 0 FINAL
(4) Alabama 59
Army 17 FINAL
Kent State 39
Kansas 21 FINAL
Texas Tech 34
UAB 22 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 34
Rutgers 17 FINAL
(13) Ohio State 56
(8) Michigan State 56 FINAL
Indiana 17
New Mexico 31 FINAL
Air Force 35
NC State 18 FINAL
Louisville 30
(21) Clemson 17 FINAL
Boston College 13
Ball State 32 FINAL
Central Mich 29
Cincinnati 41 FINAL
SMU 3
(9) Georgia 45 FINAL
Arkansas 32
Oklahoma State 9 FINAL
(10) TCU 42
San Jose St 27 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Miami-Ohio 41 FINAL
Northern Ill 51
New Mexico St 17 FINAL
Idaho 29
Colorado 28 FINAL
(20) USC 56
(23) Marshall 45 FINAL
FIU 13
Southern Miss 30 FINAL
North Texas 20
Georgia Tech 43 FINAL
North Carolina 48
Tennessee 3 FINAL
(3) Ole Miss 34
Utah State 13 FINAL
Colorado State 16
Missouri 42 FINAL
Florida 13
Kentucky 3 FINAL
(24) LSU 41
(16) Nebraska 38 FINAL
Northwestern 17
Georgia State 27 FINAL
South Alabama 30
Washington 20 FINAL
(6) Oregon 45
Iowa State 45 FINAL
Texas 48
(7) Notre Dame 27 FINAL
(2) Florida State 31
Nevada 42 FINAL
BYU 35
Stanford 10 FINAL
(14) Arizona State 26
Hawaii 10 FINAL
San Diego St 20
Arkansas State 10/21/14 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Columbus 3 FINAL
Red Bull New York 1
Seattle 2 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
Ottawa 6 FINAL
Hamilton 16
Montreal 20 FINAL
Toronto 12
Calgary 33 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
Edmonton 24 FINAL
Saskatchewan 19
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local team are you currently most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close