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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, December 30th (All times eastern)

Miami Heat (3-0) at Minnesota Timberwolves (0-2), 8 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The NBA season is in its premature stage and the Miami Heat already appear to be headed to the Finals. The undefeated Heat look to improve to 4-0 on the season when they pay a visit to the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight at the Target Center.

Dallas, Boston and most recently Charlotte have fell victim to the Heat, who edged the Bobcats by a 96-95 score on Wednesday at Time Warner Cable Arena. Dwyane Wade sank a jump shot with 2.9 seconds to go and finished with 10 points, while LeBron James led all scorers with 35 points. Chris Bosh finished with 25 points for the Heat, who erased a 16-point deficit to improve to 2-0 on the road.

"First half wasn't Miami Heat basketball," said James, who has compiled 98 points in the first three games. "We gave up 60 points. ... In order for us to be successful we have to defend."

Miami is 3-0 to start a season for the fourth time in team history and hasn't won its first four contests since a 4-0 start back in 2004-05. After visiting the Timberwolves in the Twin Cities, the Heat will return to south Florida for a three-game homestand versus the Bobcats, Hawks and Pacers.

Minnesota has dropped its first two games of the season and will begin a five- game homestand this evening against Miami, Dallas, San Antonio, Memphis and Cleveland.

The Timberwolves were beaten by Oklahoma City in the season opener, then dropped a 98-95 decision at Milwaukee on Tuesday despite a solid performance from Kevin Love. The big man posted 31 points and grabbed 20 rebounds, while Luke Ridnour and Michael Beasley finished with 17 and 15 points, respectively.

"If we played with the type of energy and focus in the first half as we did in the second half, we would have had a much better chance at winning," said Terry Porter, who was serving as Minnesota's head coach because Rick Adelman missed the game to attend the funeral service of his mother-in-law.

Wolves new guard Jose Barea left in the fourth quarter against the Bucks with a hamstring injury and is doubtful for tonight. Barea was acquired in the offseason after winning an NBA title with Dallas a year ago.

Minnesota is 0-2 to start the season for the first time since losing the first five contests of the 2007-08 campaign. It has lost a franchise-record 17 in a row after closing out last season with 15 consecutive defeats, and hasn't tasted victory since a 122-101 triumph versus Utah last March 11.

The T'Wolves dropped both matchups with Miami a year ago and have lost seven of the previous 10 meetings between the two clubs. The Heat, however, have lost nine of their past 14 contests at the Target Center.

12/30 10:34:14 ET