Heat Move Into Playoff Position With Win Over Timberwolves

Miami has also grabbed possession of the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The turnaround for the Heat this season is nothing short of phenomenal, but the team still has plenty of work to go.

"These guys are very hungry", Whiteside said. But the win could prove to be costly as Miami lost starting shooting guard and third leading scorer Dion Waiters to an ankle injury.

Hassan Whiteside had another big night himself with 23 points and 14 rebounds.

He left the game with 3:24 left in the second quarter and did not return.

"It's unfortunate", Spoelstra said.

Waiters got hurt while driving to the rim and landing on the foot of a Minnesota defender.

Goran Dragic scored 19 points and added 10 assists for Miami. Johnson scored 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field, including 2-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc. Prior to his disqualification from the game, Waiters scored 6 points and dished out 3 assists in 12 minutes of action.

"We got on it right away, but we'll all just have to see how it progresses from there", Spoelstra said.
"He just wants it to feel better and get back out there".

Miami lost at Portland on December 3 to fall to 7-13 and kick off a 4-18 slide, but its remarkable turnaround has given Spoelstra's squad a one-game advantage on Detroit in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Timberwolves were led by Karl-Anthony Towns, who had 31 points and 11 rebounds.

Hill, who entered Friday's National Basketball Association contest averaging just 6.5 points per game, shot six-of-nine from beyond the arc. The Pelicans improved to 28-41 on the season despite playing without centre DeMarcus Cousins. "Any time a team shoots 60 percent is not good".

  • Julie Sanders