Heat hang on in final minutes to beat Timberwolves 102-92 and snap 2-game slide



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MIAMI — By their own admission, the Miami Heat are still learning about themselves.

That doesn't apply to late-game situations. They know those minutes will belong to Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

Wade scored 25 points, Bosh added 24 and they combined to score their team's final 12 as the Heat wasted most of a 20-point lead before beating the Minnesota Timberwolves 102-92 on Saturday night.

"That's why we get all the headlines, that's why we get paid the most money, to try to come through," Wade said. "We've got to make the right play for the team."

Wade and Bosh were 13 for 21 from the floor after halftime, while their teammates were 5 for 18.

"Eventually, we're going to have to learn how to put away teams when the time is right," said Bosh, who has scored at least 21 in each of Miami's six games.

Nikola Pekovic finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who lost for the second time in two nights and got confirmation earlier in the day that point guard Ricky Rubio will be out indefinitely because of a sprained left ankle.

Thaddeus Young scored 16, Shabazz Muhammad had 13 and Gorgui Dieng added 12 for Minnesota.

"We battled, tinkered around, had the strong guys out there," Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said. "We got a couple of groups together that played hard. That was a positive to build on."

Luol Deng scored 14 points and Norris Cole added 11 for the Heat. Wade had eight assists and Miami finished with 26 after combining for 35 in its last two games, both losses.

"Guys really took it to heart that we really had to try to make the game easier for each other, get the ball popping," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

A late 12-0 Minnesota run made things interesting. Kevin Martin — who had been scoreless — capped the burst with consecutive 3s that pulled Minnesota to 90-86.

It got no closer. Wade hit a jumper over Andrew Wiggins with 3 minutes left to put Miami up six, and used the dribble to split Wiggins and Pekovic for a two-handed dunk with 1:55 left that gave the Heat a 98-90 lead.

"Guys battled back," Martin said. "One thing you can say about this team is that they battle."

Minnesota is bracing to be without Rubio for a while. Saunders said the team won't even know the full severity of the sprain — currently listed only as severe — until Rubio is evaluated again in two weeks, at which time a return date might be targeted.

For now, losing their 24-year-old starting point guard actually made the Timberwolves go younger — much younger.

Zach LaVine started in Rubio's place, and with him and Wiggins on the floor together Minnesota became the first team in nine years to start a pair of teenagers. The last team to do that was the Atlanta Hawks, who had Josh Smith and Marvin Williams in the lineup together against the Los Angeles Clippers on Nov. 4, 2005.

"He didn't shy away from the stage," Saunders said of LaVine.

The kids got a quick lesson. Miami had a 29-13 lead before the first quarter was over, and the lead went to 20 with 3:03 left in the half.

TIP-INS

Timberwolves: Minnesota is taking an off day in Miami on Sunday. ... Young made his 300th career start. ... F Anthony Bennett (right knee soreness) was inactive. ... The Wolves fell to 8-16 in Miami.

Heat: Udonis Haslem played 14 minutes in his season debut and is now at 20,001 for his career. ... Miami was outscored 25-4 on second-chance opportunities.

BACK TO BACK AGAIN

The Heat have only one stretch in which they play six games in nine nights this season, and it ends in Dallas on Sunday as Miami wraps up a stretch of three early back-to-backs.

PEKOVIC COMES ALIVE

Pekovic was held largely in check by the Heat early, finishing the first half with eight points and four boards. He had nine points and four rebounds in the third quarter alone.

UP NEXT

Timberwolves: Against Houston in Mexico City on Wednesday night.

Heat: At Dallas on Sunday night.

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