Dragic scores 33, Heat hold on to beat Timberwolves

Published 8:55 am Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Goran Dragic let 3-pointer after 3-pointer fly, and his career night from behind the arc was just what the Miami Heat needed to keep a most improbable winning streak going.

That so many of Dragic’s looks were so wide open caused Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau to question everything he has been doing during his first season in Minnesota.

Dragic scored 33 points and hit a career-high seven 3s to lead the Heat to their 11th straight victory, 115-113 over the Timberwolves on Monday night.

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Hassan Whiteside had 19 points and 13 rebounds, and the Heat shot 53.6 percent (15 for 28) from 3-point range. Miami made 10 more 3s than Minnesota and scored 25 second-chance points.

“The rim looks huge, you know?” said Dragic, who hit his first seven 3s. “It’s just, first four 3-pointers was really easy. There was no contest, and a credit to my teammates, they were finding me on the open shots.”

Karl-Anthony Towns had 35 points and eight rebounds for the Timberwolves, who have lost four straight games. Andrew Wiggins added 27 points, but missed two shots with chances to win the game in the final 8.5 seconds.

“I have to make sure they understand it better and I have to do better,” Thibodeau said of his team’s defense. “I’ve got to make them understand how important this is. I have to ask myself, ‘Is it being taught properly?’

“Then you have to have the responsibility of understanding what your job is and then going out there and doing it. And us being able to count on you to do your job. And you can’t do what you feel might be best for you at the expense of what’s best for our team. The team has to come first, and everyone has to understand that.”

The Heat led by as many as 14 points — the ninth straight game they have led by double digits — and now own the second-longest winning streak in the NBA this season. Golden State won 12 in a row in November.

Rodney McGruder went 3 of 4 from deep for the Heat, who are 22-30.

“We’ve gone through almost everything else — how to play with a ridiculously bad record, how to play with adversity, how to play through injuries, how to play without making excuses,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Now we have to be able to play to our identity when you’re dealing with a little bit of success and not let human nature set in.”


Timberwolves: PG Kris Dunn missed his third straight game with a bruised right hand. … Ricky Rubio had 14 points and 13 assists. … Gorgui Dieng had 13 points and seven rebounds.

Putting the ‘D’ in Dion

Heat guard Dion Waiters didn’t have quite the offensive game he has been putting up during the streak. He scored 12 points on 4-for-13 shooting in 33 minutes. But he delivered one of the highlights of the night on the other end when he ran down Shabazz Muhammad in transition and emphatically swatted a layup attempt.

Waiters rolled his left ankle in the third quarter, but remained in the game. He left the arena in a walking boot.

Comeback attempt

After a listless start, Wiggins scored 13 points in the third quarter to cut the deficit to five. The Wolves trailed by four with 35 seconds to play, but Wiggins got a steal and converted a three-point play. He stole the ball a second straight time, but missed what would have been the go-ahead jumper with 8.5 seconds left.

He had one more shot, but missed a contested fallaway from the baseline as time expired.

“I thought both of them were good,” Wiggins said.

Up next

Timberwolves: Minnesota stays home to host Toronto on Wednesday, the third of a six-game homestand.