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Ellington, Dragic lead Heat's 3-point attack past Wolves

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Miami had seen its early lead slip away in Minnesota after a nearly perfect start shooting the ball.

A 14-point advantage had dwindled to one. Wayne Ellington came off the bench and hit a 3-pointer, then another, and the Heat found their spark.

Ellington scored 21 points and made six 3-pointers off the bench, Goran Dragic added 20 points and the Miami rode a season-best shooting performance from behind the arc to a 109-97 victory over the Timberwolves on Friday night.

''He's ignitable and he always has been,'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. ''He hits two then he's going for three and the whole team is looking for him. He has that kind of feel, but he exudes that energy. It's hard to explain. Guys know and feel when somebody's ignitable and you look for him.''

Dragic was 5 of 8 from 3 as Miami hit a season-high 19 3-pointers on a season-high 39 attempts. Dion Waiters added 17 points, including a 3-of-8 mark from deep.

''I feel like it's contagious kind of, you know?'' Ellington said. ''Once you see that ball go in there from long range, it's like guys want to join the party.''

Jimmy Butler, Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns each had 18 points for Minnesota, which has lost three of its past four games.

Even after holding on for a 124-118 win on Wednesday against Orlando, the defense troubled Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau. Friday was more of the same as Minnesota couldn't handle Miami's screens to get shooters open.

The 19 3-pointers were the most allowed by the Wolves this season.

''We haven't guarded anybody all year long,'' Butler said, adding: ''We've got to eventually figure it out and want to play defense, stop trying to outscore the opposing team. That starts with me and goes all the way down the line.''

With Hassan Whiteside controlling the paint, Miami has taken the rest of its offense out to the arc this season. The Heat entered the game fifth in the league with 31.6 3-point attempts per game and were tied for seventh in 11.1 made 3s per game.

Miami is averaging its most points from 3-pointers in franchise history, entering play with 33.2 percent of its total coming from beyond the arc.

''We can live with those shots,'' Dragic said of the ball movement leading to open 3s on Friday. ''Even if you miss, it's a good, open shot. As long as we get the trigger on the pick-and-roll and try to move the ball, then those are good shots because your feet are set.''

The Heat opened the game hitting 10 of their first 13 attempts from the floor, including 4 of 6 from 3.

TIP-INS

Heat: Six players hit 3-pointers. The Heat's previous season high was 15 3s against Denver on Nov. 3. ... Ellington's season and career high for 3s in a game is seven on Nov. 19. ... Whiteside had 16 points and 10 rebounds for his eighth double-double of the season.

Wolves: Aaron Brooks started in place of PG Jeff Teague. It was Brooks' first start since April 5, 2015, for Chicago. Tyus Jones started the second half at point guard and played a career-high 32 minutes with eight points, six rebounds and six assists. ... The Wolves were also without reserve forward Nemanja Bjelica due to a left mid-foot sprain.

TEAGUE MISSING

Teague was ruled out minutes before the game with a right Achilles injury. Teague is averaging 14.0 points and 7.5 assists this season and is coming off playing 37 minutes on Wednesday. Thibodeau said Teague's status is day to day and he'll be re-evaluated Saturday.

TOO LATE

Towns finished with 18 points, but 16 came in the fourth quarter after Miami had pulled away.

Instead of using the 7-foot Whiteside, Spoelstra had 6-foot-7 Justice Winslow defend the 7-foot Towns from the opening tip. Winslow's tenacity and movement made it difficult for Towns to find any room, with Winslow denying Towns the ball by fronting the big man.

''He'll battle,'' Spoelstra said of Winslow. ''He set the tone at the beginning with his speed, his quickness, his physicality. Getting him off the block but also pressuring him up top.''

Towns was scoreless in the first half on 0-for-5 shooting.

''They're looking for him,'' Thibodeau said. ''If he stands stationary you're not going to get the ball. You've got to keep moving. And you have to execute. He scored some at the end, but it was meaningless.''

UP NEXT

Heat: Continue their four-game road trip at Chicago on Sunday.

Wolves: Host Phoenix on Sunday.

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Key Players
G. Dragic
7 G
K. Towns
32 C
34.3 Min. Per Game 34.3
20.4 Pts. Per Game 20.4
1.4 Ast. Per Game 1.4
11.5 Reb. Per Game 11.5
46.5 Field Goal % 53.5
46.8 Three Point % 53.5
81.8 Free Throw % 85.1
  Defensive rebound by James Johnson 0:06
  Defensive rebound by James Johnson 0:06
  Tyus Jones missed floating jump shot 0:10
+ 2 Kelly Olynyk made dunk, assist by James Johnson 0:14
+ 1 Karl-Anthony Towns made 2nd of 2 free throws 0:31
  Karl-Anthony Towns missed 1st of 2 free throws 0:31
  Team rebound 0:31
  Personal foul on Josh Richardson 0:31
  Offensive rebound by Karl-Anthony Towns 0:31
  Tyus Jones missed 3-pt. jump shot 0:31
  Offensive rebound by Tyus Jones 0:32
Team Stats
Points 109 97
Field Goals 38-80 (47.5%) 37-84 (44.0%)
3-Pointers 19-39 (48.7%) 7-17 (41.2%)
Free Throws 14-16 (87.5%) 16-26 (61.5%)
Total Rebounds 47 54
Offensive 9 13
Defensive 33 31
Team 5 10
Assists 29 21
Steals 4 9
Blocks 4 3
Turnovers 13 10
Fouls 24 16
Technicals 0 0
20 PTS, 4 REB, 6 AST
18 PTS, 11 REB, 3 AST
1234T
away team logo Heat 9-9 28302328109
home team logo Timberwolves 11-8 2424222797
Team Stats
away team logo Heat 9-9 103.4 PPG 41 RPG 23.8 APG
home team logo Timberwolves 11-8 101.6 PPG 45.2 RPG 22.4 APG
Key Players
W. Ellington G 11.2 PPG 2.8 RPG 1.0 APG 40.7 FG%
K. Towns C 21.3 PPG 12.3 RPG 2.4 APG 54.5 FG%
Top Scorers
W. Ellington G 21 PTS 3 REB 1 AST
K. Towns C 18 PTS 11 REB 3 AST
47.5 FG% 44.0
48.7 3PT FG% 41.2
87.5 FT% 61.5
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
G. Dragic 31 20 4 6 2 0 2 2 7/14 5/8 1/2 0 4 36 +13
D. Waiters 28 17 1 4 1 0 1 2 7/15 3/8 0/0 0 1 26 +2
H. Whiteside 24 16 10 1 1 1 0 2 6/8 0/0 4/4 3 7 30 +14
J. Winslow 21 8 6 2 0 1 2 4 2/3 2/2 2/2 0 6 17 +6
J. Richardson 36 7 1 1 0 0 2 4 3/9 0/3 1/1 0 1 8 +17
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
G. Dragic 31 20 4 6 2 0 2 2 7/14 5/8 1/2 0 4 36 +13
D. Waiters 28 17 1 4 1 0 1 2 7/15 3/8 0/0 0 1 26 +2
H. Whiteside 24 16 10 1 1 1 0 2 6/8 0/0 4/4 3 7 30 +14
J. Winslow 21 8 6 2 0 1 2 4 2/3 2/2 2/2 0 6 17 +6
J. Richardson 36 7 1 1 0 0 2 4 3/9 0/3 1/1 0 1 8 +17
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
W. Ellington 27 21 3 1 0 0 1 1 6/9 6/9 3/3 1 2 25 +4
K. Olynyk 22 12 8 4 0 0 1 4 4/7 2/3 2/2 2 6 27 -3
J. Johnson 28 5 6 8 0 1 3 5 2/8 0/1 1/2 2 4 25 +3
T. Johnson 19 3 3 2 0 1 1 0 1/7 1/5 0/0 1 2 10 +4
A. Hammons - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
R. McGruder - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Mickey - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
O. White - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
B. Adebayo - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Williams - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Walton - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
U. Haslem - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 236 109 42 29 4 4 13 24 38/80 19/39 14/16 9 33 204 +60
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
J. Butler 35 18 6 4 0 0 2 0 7/17 1/1 3/6 2 4 30 -11
A. Wiggins 38 18 3 2 3 1 1 2 6/14 0/3 6/8 1 2 28 -2
K. Towns 38 18 11 3 0 1 2 4 6/14 0/3 6/7 3 8 34 -18
T. Gibson 36 8 8 1 0 1 1 3 4/7 0/1 0/0 2 6 18 +2
A. Brooks 13 3 1 2 0 0 0 2 1/4 1/1 0/0 0 1 8 -15
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
J. Butler 35 18 6 4 0 0 2 0 7/17 1/1 3/6 2 4 30 -11
A. Wiggins 38 18 3 2 3 1 1 2 6/14 0/3 6/8 1 2 28 -2
K. Towns 38 18 11 3 0 1 2 4 6/14 0/3 6/7 3 8 34 -18
T. Gibson 36 8 8 1 0 1 1 3 4/7 0/1 0/0 2 6 18 +2
A. Brooks 13 3 1 2 0 0 0 2 1/4 1/1 0/0 0 1 8 -15
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
J. Crawford 17 10 1 3 0 0 0 2 4/11 1/3 1/2 1 0 17 -8
S. Muhammad 11 10 5 0 1 0 0 0 4/7 2/2 0/0 2 3 16 -14
T. Jones 32 8 6 6 4 0 3 2 3/6 2/3 0/2 2 4 27 +7
G. Dieng 15 4 3 0 1 0 1 1 2/4 0/0 0/1 0 3 7 -1
J. Teague - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Aldrich - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
N. Bjelica - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Brown - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Georges-Hunt - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Patton - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 235 97 44 21 9 3 10 16 37/84 7/17 16/26 13 31 185 -60