The Miami Heat will try to end their four-game trip on a high note when they visit the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.
The game is scheduled for 8 p.m. Eastern Time. Minnesota’s previous two home games had been moved to an afternoon start due to curfews in Minneapolis and the surrounding areas.
The Timberwolves lost those two games in lopsided fashion.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Timberwolves lost by 30 to Brooklyn. On Wednesday, Milwaukee beat them by 25. Minnesota has lost its past two games and four of its past five.
“We just played soft — flat and soft,” Minnesota coach Chris Finch said. “Not a lot of resistance to anything that we did. Our competitive spirit has gone back down, and it seems to be a continual problem. We play well, get a win, and then it drops back down again.”
Minnesota played those games without Karl-Anthony Towns due to personal reasons. He is averaging 25 points per game and would be a welcome addition to the lineup.
This will be the first of two meetings between the teams in the coming weeks. Minnesota will visit the Heat on May 7.
Miami will be headed home after Friday’s game.
The Heat tipped off this trip with a 107-98 win at Portland but has since lost its past two.
The Heat are coming off losses in Phoenix (by 20) and Denver (17).
“Denver outplayed us tonight,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said afterward. “I think you do have to give them credit, and they’re a unique team with the way they pass the ball, the way they cut off the ball.”
Miami could be without Jimmy Butler, who sprained his right ankle during Tuesday’s loss at Phoenix.
Butler played through the injury on Wednesday, but when the game took a turn and basically got out of reach, Spoelstra pulled him and let him rest during the entire fourth quarter.
On Wednesday, Butler scored 13 points in 28 minutes.
Butler spent parts of two seasons with the Timberwolves after being traded there from Chicago in 2017. He played in just 10 games at the start of the 2018-19 season before the Wolves traded him to the Philadelphia 76ers.
“There’s no doubt Jimmy will always want to go,” Spoelstra said before Wednesday’s game in Denver.
Miami was without guard Goran Dragic (back spasms) on Wednesday, but he is expected to play Friday.
Also on Wednesday, center Dewayne Dedmon made his debut with the Heat after signing a free-agent deal with the team last week. He came in during the fourth quarter and had three points and five rebounds.
Dedmon had not played in an NBA game since last season.
“He felt like he played 30 minutes and it was six minutes,” Spoelstra said. “He’s big, he’s a great communicator out there, he has experience. So you can see where he can help.”
–Field Level Media