Jazz 99 – Heat 98

March 3rd, 2012 | by Matthew Coles
Miami Heat 98 FinalRecap | Box Score 99 Utah Jazz
Josh Howard, SF 40 MIN | 4-15 FG | 2-4 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 10 PTS | -5Howard blocked the only shot LeBron missed in the fourth quarter. Playing a season-high in minutes, Howard dogged James as much as he could but there was no stopping LBJ in the fourth quarter. Perhaps the best thing he did all night was force him to pass to Haslem on the final play. “On the last play, I just wanted to deny LeBron the ball and challenge his shot. I wasn’t really expecting Udonis to get the shot,” Howard said. “I was surprised LeBron didn’t shoot it, for the most part.”
Paul Millsap, PF 30 MIN | 3-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 8 PTS | -2Hampered by a bruised heel, Millsap still showed his tenacity and keep a number of rebounds alive as the Jazz outboarded the Heat, 50-32. On defense he helped shade Wade and LeBron so they had to get most of their point on tough jumpers instead of direct beelines to the hoop.
Al Jefferson, C 31 MIN | 10-20 FG | 0-2 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 20 PTS | -2The Black Hole passed the ball on the game’s deciding play! Jefferson made some big shots but then seemed to shrink a bit at crunch time, which may be expected by now. But he stood tall in the closing seconds of this one. Big Al made a follow shot to bring the Jazz with 97-96 with 20.6 remaining and then kicked it out to Harris for his game-winning floater. Harris said, “I gave Al a funny look because I wasn’t expecting to get the ball back that early. It really wasn’t a true double-team. But he has confidence in me and he’s been telling me all night he was going to kick it back out. He wants to be Magic Johnson, so we’ll let him be Magic for tonight.” Magic, it is on this enchanted night for Utah.
Devin Harris, PG 26 MIN | 3-9 FG | 6-7 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 13 PTS | -1Sporting a nice red gash under his eye from a play earlier in the second half, Harris was all smiles in the locker room. Hitting an improbable winning shot is a just reward for Utah’s most maligned player who has raised his level several notches over the last couple weeks. “We knew they would double-team Al,” Harris said of the last basket. “I punched it into Al and he passed it right back. I saw about seven seconds on the clock and knew I had to make a play. I took it to the lane and hit a tough shot. I didn’t see the basket when I shot it so it was good to hear that it went in.” Over the last five games, Harris is shooting 56 percent, including 54 percent from 3-point range, and averaging 15 points and 5.4 assists.
Gordon Hayward, SG 26 MIN | 3-7 FG | 5-5 FT | 5 REB | 5 AST | 12 PTS | -1Just when it seemed Golden Gordon wouldn’t ever knock down another open shot from the perimeter, he made a key three and his assist to Harris gave Utah an 18-point lead in the third quarter — rivaling the biggest hole the Heat have seen in this season of domination. For good measure, Hayward did his best LeBron imitation as he hustled back from trailing the play and swatted Chalmers’ fast-break layup attempt into the crowd. Hayward played good defense on Wade and had a good floor game overall.
Earl Watson, PG 22 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 7 AST | 2 PTS | +2Boy, that Watson sure can get under an opponent’s skin. Watson harassed the Heat point guards into submission and also led the Jazz with seven helpers in just 22 minutes.
C.J. Miles, SF 22 MIN | 5-14 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 14 PTS | +2As usual, Miles hoisted too many shots (14 in 22 minutes) and had a couple of head-scratching plays but he also got to some 50-50 balls and flew in for some key rebounds. Miles has to stay aggressive to be successful so Jazz fans have to take the good with bad.
Derrick Favors, FC 18 MIN | 1-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | +3As big and strong as Favors is, he was mostly invisible as other Jazzmen shone. A couple of times he was caught far out of position as he went for a block and his man got an easy flush.
Alec Burks, G 8 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | +6Burks makes the most of his minutes again as he scored six in just 8:17 of play.
Enes Kanter, F 16 MIN | 5-8 FG | 1-1 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 11 PTS | +3Big Turkey was a man in the paint. He outscored and outrebounded both Miami centers even though he only played 16 minutes. All season long, he has been a glass-eating monster but Friday he also finished after some nifty post moves. “He’s a big guy who plays big,” Corbin said after the game. “He finished baskets after making some nice moves, a jump hook, a spin move and an up-and-under.”

Four Things We Saw

  1. After all the close losses, the Jazz celebrated like no other time this season. Even with all the high fives and shouting, they seemed understated compared to PA announcer Dan Roberts’ unbridled scream into the microphone: “WE BEAT MIAMI!” Still, Jefferson didn’t apologize. “We celebrated because it was a big win. Not just because we beat the Miami Heat, we stuck together and didn’t give up. There have been a lot of close games lately that have gone the opposite way, so it was good to see one go in our favor.”
  2. LeBron is ridiculous. Howard was getting pats on the back for his defensive performance even though James made 8 of 9 shots in the fourth quarter for 17 points. He made shots fading to his left, he made shots fading to his right and even made a long jumper while doing some sort of scissors kick. In the end, he just fanned the flames of critics who claim he can’t finish in crunch time. With the final seconds ticking off the clock and the ball in his hands, he passed to 41-percent shoot Haslem for a 18-foot jump shot. Both coaches made a point to say it was “the right basketball play” but come on …
  3. Harris made the glory shot but this game was won in the first half when the Jazz corralled every loose ball and had more offensive rebounds (15) than the Heat had total (13). It was not Utah’s best shooting night but the Jazz went up and grabbed 15 of the 28 shots they missed in the first two quarters. “We did not play in the first half, got ourselves in a hole and had to make a tremendous effort to dig back into it,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said.
    Wade added, “They wanted it more early. As a team they came out and were getting to all the loose balls, jumping quicker than us and getting to all the right places.”
  4. It seems like Shane Battier shoots 96 percent against Utah from 3-point land whether he is playing for Houston, Miami or Memphis. With the Jazz chasing and doubling Wade and James, Battier had time to count the seams on the ball and give himself a mani-pedi before he launched his shots. He made his first six 3s for a season-high in points but then missed one so he never took another shot though he had plenty of space several times.

Matthew Coles

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