The Miami Heat will try to get back on track after back-to- back losses Saturday night when they visit the Target Center to take on the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Heat fell at home to the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday, then got clobbered by the Chicago Bulls in the Windy City on Thursday, 107-87. In the two losses, the Heat shot their lowest field-goal percentages of the season.
"We would love to shoot 50 percent every game, but there's going to be times we need to gut out a win," said LeBron James.
In addition to shooting a season-low against Chicago, the Heat allowed the Bulls to shoot 50 percent from the field and 52.6 percent from behind the 3- point line. Another telling stat was the rebounding margin. The Bulls beat Miami on the glass, 49-27, and the Pistons out-boarded the Heat, 46-34.
"We've never been a great rebounding team. We've been able to overcome that," explained James. "I'm going to do a better job of that. It's a group thing for our team. We don't have a Kevin Love, or a Joakim Noah, or a Dwight Howard those type of guys that can go out and get you 15-plus. We've got to do it by the collective group."
Dwyane Wade missed the Bulls game with the flu and James led the way with 21 points. Michael Beasley netted 15 off the bench and Norris Cole added 12 in a reserve role. Chris Bosh managed 10 points.
Miami will visit Detroit on Sunday to complete the road trip.
The Wolves haven't played since a 113-103 loss in Oklahoma City on Sunday. They were scheduled to meet the San Antonio Spurs in Mexico City on Wednesday, but a generator malfunction occurred and filled the venue with smoke. The game will be made up in Minnesota at a later date.
The Wolves may be without Love, their All-Star power forward. His maternal grandmother, Carol Lee Craig, passed away Wednesday night. Love left the team to be with his family after returning from Mexico. He didn't practice on Friday and the team doesn't know his availability for Saturday, although he'll most likely miss the game.
With the Mexico City debacle behind them, the Wolves need to play better. They've lost four of their last five, including the setback in Oklahoma City.
Minnesota was five ahead after three quarters, but completely fell apart over the final 12 minutes. OKC outscored the Wolves, 35-20 to win by double figures.
"Fourth quarter, we just went with that small lineup and had some miscommunication and they kind of took control of the game then," Minnesota head coach Rick Adelman said.
Kevin Martin led the way for Minnesota with 24 points, followed by 22 and 10 rebounds from Nikola Pekovic. Love notched 16 points and 12 boards and Corey Brewer added 10 points.
The Heat have won six straight against the Timberwolves and five in a row in Minnesota.