Updated: December 30, 2011, 11:24 PM ET

LeBron James 16-26 FG | 2-4 FT | 8 REB | 10 AST | 34 PTS | +14
GRADEA-

The birthday boy was feeling it. Actually, he's been feeling it all season. LeBron opened the game by effortlessly drilling jumpers from midrange, something he clearly worked on in the offseason. He made a terrible pass in the final minute but made up for it on the game-winning lob to Dwyane Wade. He's playing like he wants that MVP crown back.

Dwyane Wade 8-19 FG | 3-6 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 19 PTS | +1
GRADEB-

Wade doesn't quite have the same bounce in his step thanks to his left foot injury, but that didn't stop him from throwing down an alley-oop or two. He looked rusty, coughing up the ball several times on the night, which also might have had something to do with his gimpy foot. His two buckets down the stretch were huge, fueling his reputation as the Heat's closer.

Chris Bosh 9-17 FG | 2-3 FT | 9 REB | 4 AST | 20 PTS | -4
GRADEB+

Kevin Love probably will haunt Bosh's dreams. Bosh had another strong fourth quarter on the offensive end, mixing in silky jumpers and attacks off the dribble. But it was Love who won the battle of All-Star power forwards. Bosh's dishing game was a nice surprise. After a dud on Christmas Day, he is back on track.

Perimeter defense
GRADED

The Heat are known for their ability to close out air space on shooters better than anybody else, but they must have left that skill back in Miami. Ricky Rubio's made 3-pointer on James late in the fourth quarter simply shouldn't have gotten off in the first place. The Timberwolves nailed 11 shots from downtown, and most of them were wide-open airstrikes.

Minnesota Timberwolves
GRADEA-

After falling behind by 13 points in the early going, the young squad came roaring back to take the lead late in the second quarter and stayed with the Heat until the very end. Rubio is the real deal; the rookie hit his teammates with passes right where they wanted them and nailed some big shots. Gutsy performance by the youngsters.

Grades by Tom Haberstroh

Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?