By Walter Villa, The Sports Xchange
MIAMI -- After the Heat had defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves, 103-92, Tuesday night, Miami forward Shane Battier was asked to comment on a statistical oddity.
The Heat won despite getting outrebounded 52-24. Normally, Battier was told, teams are beaten over 90 percent of the time when losing the boards battle by double figures.
"So you say there's a chance," Battier joked, quoting the famous line from the movie "Dumb and Dumber."
There's nothing stupid about the Heat, though. They found a way to win and improved to 16-6 -- the same record they had at this point last season, when they went on to win the NBA championship.
The Heat, led by 24 points from Dwyane Wade and 22 from LeBron James, beat the Wolves by dominating in areas other than rebounding. They were plus-11 on turnovers, for example, which meant extra possessions.
"That's all we talked about, and we didn't do it," Wolves coach Rick Adelman said in reference to taking care of the ball. "They ran out on us."
Miami also made 13 3-pointers, shooting 52 percent from long range while holding the Wolves to four 3-pointers (24 percent).
Point guard Mario Chalmers, often Miami's forgotten man, was the team's best 3-point shooter against the Wolves, making 4 of 6.
"They have a lot of shooters, and they have guys who can get into the lane," Adelman said. "We didn't do a good job against Wade, and we just have to learn from it."
The Wolves (12-11), who have missed the playoffs the past eight consecutive seasons, lost their second in a row after their four-game win streak was snapped Monday.
But Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was impressed with Wolves players such as Kevin Love (18 rebounds, 11 points), Andrei Kirilenko (22 points) and Nikola Pekovic (18 points, 12 rebounds).
"They are unique," Spoelstra said. "They are relentless on the glass. There aren't many teams who have multiple guys who can rebound like they do -- they annihilated us.
"The only thing we could do was put bodies on them and tip the ball away -- get team rebounds. Even if you don't get the rebound, make sure (the guy you are blocking out) doesn't get it. That's something we started focusing on last season."
Spoelstra said he was amazed at how many rebounds the Wolves got a foot or two below the rim, using their ability to box out to secure caroms.
"Their bigs like Love and Pekovic have strong hands," Spoelstra said. "But we know we can rebound with anybody when we are committed. It was better in the second half."
Love said his team needs to play better transition defense.
"When LeBron and Dwyane get out running," he said, "they're tough to stop."
Spoelstra agreed and had special praise for James, who had a game-high 11 assists and seven rebounds in addition to his 22 points. James also played a game-high 42 minutes, continuing a trend of heavy playing time for the Heat star.
"He wasn't even breathing hard," Spoelstra said. "LeBron biked to the game the other day. His conditioning is world class."
NOTES: The Heat ended its home stand at 4-2. ... Wolves forward Love played his 13th game of the season. He missed nine games because of a thumb injury and an illness. ... Ricky Rubio, the Wolves' point guard who came back last week after missing nine months because of a knee injury, sat out the Heat game. Since his return, Rubio looked fairly strong in his first game before struggling Monday night in Orlando. The Wolves' plan, for now, is to rest him on the second night of back-to-back games. ... Wolves coach Rick Adelman on rookie point guard Alexey Shved: "He's a deceiving player. People don't think he's fast, but he continues to get around guys. He has great vision. The one area where he can and will get better is shooting the ball. He's a smart kid, and he listens. I think having (fellow Russian) Andrei Kirilenko with us has helped him along." ... Tuesday's game was a homecoming for J.J. Barea, the Wolves' backup point guard. Barea, who played his high school ball at Miami Christian, had 10 points, 3 assists and 3 turnovers in 25 minutes. ... Up next, the Wolves face their second consecutive 2012 NBA finalist when they play host to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday. ... The Heat play at Dallas on Thursday. It will be the Heat's first road game since their Dec. 4 loss at Washington.