Davis had 26 points, a season-high 10 assists and seven rebounds Tuesday night to help the Timberwolves beat the undermanned Heat 100-96, snapping Miami’s five-game winning streak.
“I was just finding guys, drawing so much attention and they were stepping up,” Davis said. “I got to give credit to my teammates for hitting shots and stepping up real hard.”
O’Neal was held out because of the sore right thumb he injured on a dunk attempt Sunday night, missing a physical game featuring 48 total fouls.
“The moment you relax because Shaq’s not playing, some other tiger comes out of the bag,” coach Dwane Casey said. “We were very concerned about Shaquille, don’t get me wrong, but we were just as concerned about Dwyane Wade and Alonzo Mourning.”
Wade had 35 points and eight assists to lead the Heat, who lost for just the second time in 17 games. Mourning had 21 points and 12 rebounds and reserve Antoine Walker added 18 points.
“We have to come back tomorrow,” Wade said. “We’re a team that never quits, we always fight.”
Miami missed its first four shots and first two free throws in the fourth quarter before Mourning made two foul shots at the 8:10 mark. By then, Minnesota had opened up a 17-point lead.
Midway through the quarter, tempers flared—perhaps a carryover from an earlier incident involving a hard foul from Minnesota rookie Rashad McCants. McCants and Miami’s Gary Payton got into a shouting match and had to be separated before double technical fouls were issued.
“I don’t really remember what he said,” McCants said. “It just happened real fast for me but it’s nothing that needs to be elaborated on.”
The Heat rallied to cut the deficit to 95-90 with 2:53 left. Davis hit a 3-pointer for the Timberwolves, but Mourning followed with a three-point play and Wade made three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt to bring Miami within 98-96 with 34.4 seconds left.
Blount missed a shot on the next possession and the Heat had a chance to tie, but Wade’s driving layup was too strong and Mourning’s tip was off the mark, allowing Minnesota to escape.
“That’s something I’ll play over and over in my head, I should’ve gone up with the left (hand),” Wade said. “I really wanted to go for the three actually, I wanted to go for the win, but once I came off and I had attacked the basket I got a good shot.
“It just wasn’t meant to be because I don’t miss that shot too often,” he added.
Garnett made two free throws with less than a second remaining to seal it. Garnett was 6-for-6 from the foul line in the fourth quarter, after making four key free throws down the stretch in Sunday’s victory.
“Just being aggressive in the fourth quarter is what I’m focused on,” Garnett said.
Trailing 57-50, Minnesota opened the second half with an 11-4 run to tie it at 61 with 8:38 left. The Wolves closed the third quarter with a 13-2 surge, capped by Garnett’s 23-foot buzzer beater to give the Wolves an 82-70 lead. The Heat made just six of 20 shots in the third.
Miami got out to a 30-22 lead after one quarter, behind Wade’s nine points and the team’s 11-for-14 shooting from the foul line. The Heat got a scare with 32.8 seconds left in the first when Wade was knocked down on a breakaway dunk attempt by McCants. Wade remained on the floor for a few minutes, but he got up and made both free throws before heading to the bench.
“I really couldn’t even see it and I hit the ground hard, always hit the ground hard,” Wade said.
Wade returned in the second quarter and had a putback dunk at 6:43 to stop a 15-3 run that had given the Timberwolves a 37-33 lead. Jaric led Minnesota’s surge with three steals and six fastbreak points.
Wade scored 13 of Miami’s final 24 points in the second quarter and the Heat led 57-50 at halftime.
X-rays on O’Neal’s thumb were negative, but he was listed as questionable for Wednesday night’s game at Detroit.
Minnesota’s Trenton Hassell sprained his left ankle in the third quarter and did not return. He will be evaluated on Wednesday after what Casey described as a “pretty nasty fall.” … Minnesota improved to 1-8 on Tuesdays this season. … Miami had a six-game road winning streak snapped. … Despite O’Neal’s absence, the Heat continued to dominate the low block with a 42-18 advantage in points in the paint.