Wade, James Carry Heat Past Wolves, 129-97
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LeBron James isn’t sure that he wants to be called a point guard.
There’s no arguing he can play like one.
Dwyane Wade led all scorers with 26 points, James added 20 points and a game-high 12 assists — the most ever by a Heat forward, according to STATS LLC — and Miami rolled to its fourth straight win, 129-97 over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night.
Wade made 12 of 17 shots in just 24 minutes for Miami, which has outscored opponents by 22.8 points per game losing the season-opener in Boston last week.
James Jones hit five 3-pointers and scored 17 for the Heat, who got 15 from Eddie House, 13 from Chris Bosh and 11 from Udonis Haslem.
Kevin Love led Minnesota with 20 points on 7-for-11 shooting.
It was Miami’s highest-scoring non-overtime game since beating Phoenix 135-129 on March 4, 2009. Minnesota gave up at least 130 points five times last season alone, all in regulation.
Michael Beasley’s return to Miami was one that will stay with him for a few days — in the form of a bruised hip.
The former Heat forward left with about 8 minutes remaining until halftime after scoring on a drive, but tumbling awkwardly to the floor and slamming his left side on the hardwood. He scored 11 points, and X-rays were negative.
Sebastian Telfair and Wes Johnson each scored 13 for Minnesota, which stayed with the Heat for much of the first half. Miami’s lead was only 50-44 when Wade got free for a dunk with 5 minutes left until halftime, kickstarting what became a 44-22 run over the next 16 minutes.
Nikola Pekovic scored 12 for Minnesota.
Miami shot 58 percent, and to think James wasn’t even doing much of the scoring.
He turned down shots in the first half to make extra passes, and his 12 assists were distributed among eight different Heat players. By the time James got his second basket of the night — a layup with 9:12 to play in the third quarter — the Heat were already leading by a comfortable 79-58 margin.
James hit 6 of 8 shots in the third quarter, scoring 14 of his points, then took the fourth quarter off as Miami’s reserves completed the runaway.
Even when he wasn’t scoring, James was active. Wes Johnson tried to drive for a layup, never knowing that James was lurking from behind in the third quarter, swatting his try out of bounds, then grabbing the ball and twirling it a bit while smiling. He wasn’t alone, either — Wade was still grinning a minute after that play was over.
The Heat led by as many as 34 in the final minutes.
Notes: Wade is averaging 24.8 points during Miami’s four-game winning streak, after missing the preseason with a strained hamstring. … Minnesota’s Darko Milicic — the No. 2 pick in the draft where James went No. 1, Bosh No. 4 and Wade No. 5 — missed all five of his shots. … Lamar Odom had 11 assists for Miami during a triple-double effort March 6, 2004 against Sacramento, which until Tuesday was the most ever by a Heat forward.
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