The Miami Heat have been thoroughly outplayed in their last two games with Dwyane Wade off the court. On Saturday against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Miami got him back and the Heat were able to control the game from the start.
After playing an even first quarter, Miami outscored Minnesota 31-17 in the second quarter and the game never got close again. Miami won 103-82 and were able to rest LeBron James for the entire fourth quarter, and Wade for most of it. Wade scored 19 points, had five rebounds and four assists, but his most important contribution came on defense.
Minnesota played without their best player Kevin Love due to personal reasons. Without Love, the Timberwolves’ best scorer was shooting guard Kevin Martin. He came into the game averaging nearly 23 points per game on 42 percent shooting. With Wade covering him the majority of the time he was on the floor, Martin shot only 5-of-16 and 1-of-7 from the 3-point line in 34 minutes.
No Timberwolves starter managed to shoot 50 percent from the field, and the only player on the team that reached that mark was Robbie Hummel, who went 2-of-3.
It is difficult to say whether or not Miami would have won either of their last two games with Wade in the lineup, but there is no doubt that in order for them to win a third straight championship, he will need to be healthy come playoff time. If that means they have to sacrifice 8-10 games this season to allow him to rest, then that is what they will do.