Something is happening in Minnesota. The nucleus of some unbelievable NBA basketball is brewing in the Twin Cities through the duo of Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio, and their time will be here before you know it. Just not yet. The Miami Heat made sure of that last night in Minneapolis. The upstart T-Wolves gave them everything they could handle, leading for much of the game until letting it slip away from them in the final seconds, undone by turnovers, missed foul shots and blown defensive assignments – exactly the type of mistakes you would expect a young team to make, and the type of mistakes you would expect the Heat to use to their advantage … With the game tied at 101, and just under five seconds to play, Miami ran an inbounds play that saw LeBron hit Dwyane Wade with an alley-oop off of a high screen to put Miami up two. The Wolves had a final shot that was missed by Wayne Ellington … After the game, LeBron admitted that their final inbounds play was stolen from the Celtics … James, who was celebrating his 27th birthday yesterday, finished with 34. His 98 points through the first three games is the most in Heat history … While Miami won, the real story is the emergence of Ricky Rubio. We’re very close to never seeing Luke Ridnour ever again. Rubio finished with 12 points, 12 assists and six boards, but the stat line doesn’t tell the whole story. Ricky was a problem, controlling the tempo, getting into the paint and setting up his teammates for easy looks. He was the leader on the floor for Minnesota last night, and brought team within a breath of knocking off LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh … By the second quarter, the Minnesota fans were chanting Rubio’s name. That chant then morphed into a chant of “MVP! MVP!” Minnesota’s announcers speculated that the MVP chants may have rattled Rubio a bit … Midway through the fourth quarter, the Timberwolves were +11 when Rubio was on the floor, -11 when he wasn’t … After the game, Minnesota rookie Derrick Williams tweeted: “Another close one !!! Man we are right there. Shows a lot about our young team. Big things are coming. Back at it tomorrow. #heart” … In a matchup of great young point guards/summer circuit all-stars, Brandon Jennings welcomed John Wall and the Wizards to Milwaukee and then went about taking the Wiz apart. Jennings was a beast in the second half, scoring 15 of his 22 in the final two quarters, including multiple highlight-reel buckets and multiple jumpers that put away Washington. Wall finished with just six points and four turnovers … The Celtics finally got Paul Pierce back in their lineup, and not coincidentally, they got their first W in a 96-85 win over the Pistons. Pierce only had 12, but just having him back in the lineup makes them a completely different team. Boston’s previous three games had Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett and a bunch of jerseys. Having Pierce on the floor gives them continuity and an identity … Not a bad night for Dwight Howard against the Bobcats. 20 points, 24 boards, four blocks, and a Magic W. When tubby Boris Diaw is the only thing between you and monster stat lines, these things will happen … The NBA’s nightcap was an incredibly entertaining run between the Clippers and the Bulls in L.A.’s home opener. The head-to-head battle between Derrick Rose and Chris Paul was unreal, as the two best PGs in the game squared off with their contrasting styles. D-Rose got the better of CP3 down the stretch racking up 29, 16 and eight boards (compared to Paul’s 15 and 14 dimes) and earned a hard-fought Bulls’ win on the road … There were moments they gave us a look into just how good the Clippers could be. When they were rolling last night, Chris Paul was getting into the lane, reading the defense, and either hitting diving bigs (Blake or DeAndre Jordan) or kicking it out to open shooters. They still clearly need a deadeye shooting to hang out on the perimeter and some of their other guys to step up as viable offensive options. Paul and Blake can’t do it all every night … We’re out like the dark days of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
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