Suddenly there’s no stopping the World Champion Miami Heat.
Being around this group after they dismantled the under-manned Minnesota Timberwolves 97-81, it’s apparent their main objective Monday night at Target Center before 18,391 fans was to win and not get trapped in a snowstorm.
“We saw the forecast,” said Dwyane Wade, who scored a game-high 32 points and 10 assists. “We heard it might be coming.”
The defending NBA Champions did not play their best game, with 23 turnovers; but with the Timberwolves’ injury issues, having three starters out, the Heat had to be ready for a fight. A frustrated J.J. Barea, who was just one of 11 from the field, finally lost his cool in the fourth quarter. The game was physical, and Barea took it to another level trying to cross-block Ray Allen.
The game was tight at the time (76-70 Heat) when the game got out of hand for the Timberwolves. The Heat were not allowing the Timberwolves to score inside. They outscored the Timberwolves 58-32 in the paint.
“It just came from nowhere,” Allen said. “I was dribbling down the floor. It was a play where he kind of chucked me a little bit and knocked the ball away. I got it back and drove, and Barea just leveled me.”
Down went Allen. He got up and was going after Barea. However, league MVP LeBron James grabbed Allen. Tempers were hot, and the partisan crowd was into the game — a Flagrant 1 was called at first by the officials.
But after reviewing the play on TV monitors courtside, they called it a Flagrant 2. Barea was ejected from the game. “I thought it was uncalled for,” said Allen, “There’s no place for that in this game.”
And from that point on there was no stopping the Heat; they went on a 17-5 run, aided by a technical foul called on Timberwolves Coach Rick Adelman, upset with the ejection call and a strange offensive foul called on Alexey Shved with his foot after a made three. The Timberwolves lost their poise, and the Heat cruised to their 15th straight win and missed the snowstorm.
Miami appears headed to another trip to the NBA Finals. They are running away with the Eastern Conference at 44-14, and they are the only team in the league without a loss since the All-Star break. James appears to be on his way to another MVP award. He scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Miami leads the NBA in field goal percentage at 49.6 percent. They are a veteran team, and they take high-percentage shots. The Timberwolves just can’t catch a break. Injuries are an issue.
It’s another season going down the drain — at 20-37, they have lost 21 of their last 25 games and six in a row. The Heat beat the Timberwolves for the sixth straight time.
Fitz Beat Notes & Quotes
Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire has lost 195 games and finished last two years in a row. Yet Gophers Coach Tubby Smith is on the hot seat?
That is if you believe what you read and hear, because Flip Saunders, former Gopher, ex-Timberwolves and Detroit Pistons coach, is between jobs, having lost his last two. Suddenly the biased consensus print and media airways have been filled with a rush to taint Smith, talking openly about buying out his contract.
Minnesota has played the toughest schedule in the nation, and they are in the toughest conference. Last week, Tubby’s Gophers beat the number-one team in the nation, Indiana, 77-73 at Williams Arena, and the fans stormed the court.
True, Smith has zero NCAA wins in this, his sixth season. However, he has two trips to the NCAAs with another all but certain for 2013. The best in school history under one coach is six under Clem Haskins.
With two outstanding coaches in this town, Tubby and Leslie Frazier, who just happen to be Black, the predominant all-White media can see nothing but negatives. It’s sad and shameful that the editors and general managers are fueling hate with all-White commentators.
Did you know that Minnesota, the great University of Minnesota, Land of 10,000 Buyouts — Glen Mason, Dan Monson, Tim Brewster (North Carolina, $800,000), and Brad Childress — is the single only Division 1 NCAA Athletic program in the great state of Minnesota? And it’s the only member school in the Big Ten with one Division 1 program in state?
Minnesota has been to the NCAA tournament just 11 times since 1885. Why is that?
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.