Michael Beasley hoped to play a supporting role along side the Miami Heat's new superstar trio this season. Instead, he's trying to help the Minnesota Timberwolves improve on one of the worst seasons in franchise history.
Beasley and his new team look to prevent his old Heat club from earning a fourth consecutive victory Tuesday night in Miami.
After posting career highs with 14.8 points and 6.4 rebounds in his second NBA season with the Heat, Beasley wanted to stay with Miami as the club pursued LeBron James and Chris Bosh to join Dwyane Wade. However, by trading Beasley to Minnesota in the offseason for a pair of future second-round picks, the Heat were able to trim his $5 million salary and build the current cast around the three stars.
Despite a somewhat troubled two seasons in Miami, the second overall pick in 2008 is not living in the past. He'd rather focus on helping the Timberwolves bounce back from a 15-67 mark in 2009-10.
"I don't really worry about too much in the past," said Beasley, averaging a team-leading 14.7 points for Minnesota. "The Miami Heat is in my past. The Timberwolves are my future. This is just another regular away game. This is a game we've got to win."
That could be tough for the Timberwolves (1-2), who look to avoid a 14th straight road loss since winning 91-88 at Miami on Feb. 23.
"We've got to come in and play," Beasley said.
Though Beasley and Kevin Love (14.0 points per game, 13.0 rebounds) have played well through three games, Miami (3-1) has not allowed a field goal to a starting forward in the last two contests. Allowing a league-low 80.8 points per game, the Heat have not given up more than 88 points in four games.
"They use their length. They use their athletic ability," Beasley said. "They're using everything they've got. They've got two of the top five defenders in the NBA."
Offensively, Miami might be closing in on achieving the successful balance it hoped for between James, Bosh and Wade.
James scored 20 points, while Bosh added 18 and Wade 17 as the Heat shot 68 percent in the first half of Sunday's 101-78 win at New Jersey.
Wade is averaging 21.5 points and James 20.5 per game, while Bosh is coming off his highest scoring game with the Heat.
"The balance is what we are here together for, to have an opportunity to make the game easy on everyone and we're doing it," Wade said. "We're playing great team basketball and we're still not where we want to be, but we're making sure everyone gets an opportunity."
Wade, who missed Miami's home loss to Minnesota last season with a calf strain, has averaged 32.8 points and shot 48.4 percent during his last six games against the Timberwolves. He had 39 in the Heat's 97-84 win at Minnesota in the teams' most recent meeting April 3.
Bosh has averaged 24.0 points and 9.5 rebounds in his last four versus Minnesota.
Love had 17 points and 12 rebounds in the February victory at Miami.