Jazz 94, Heat 89

Heat can’t find its rhythm in loss to Jazz

 
 
The Heat's Dwyane Wade, right, defends Utah’s Richard Jefferson, who had a big fourth quarter Saturday.
The Heat's Dwyane Wade, right, defends Utah’s Richard Jefferson, who had a big fourth quarter Saturday.
Rick Bowmer / AP

jgoodman@MiamiHerald.com

There was a story in the local paper Friday suggesting that every victory by the Utah Jazz from here on out would actually be hurting the franchise.

That’s the team the Heat lost to 94-89 on Saturday, the maybe-it-should-just-tank Utah Jazz.

So, the inconsistency continues for the Heat this season despite coach Erik Spoelstra’s best effort to coax some sort of rhythm and consistency out of his lineup. Remember that winning streak that started after last year’s Super Bowl? Well, this year’s early February winning streak ended at three games.

“We figured it was going to be an ugly game,” Spoelstra said. “We just have to find a way when we’re not making shots the way we’re accustomed to. We never could get over that hump.”

One explanation: the Heat had just two second-chance points. Hard to win when you don’t try.

A three-pointer by Jazz veteran Richard Jefferson with 1:26 left put Utah ahead 91-85. Ray Allen answered with a wide-open corner three-pointer to make it interesting, but Utah rookie Trey Burke drilled a 19-footer on the Jazz’s next possession to give Utah a four-point cushion.

“I thought we contested a lot of shots tonight, and they hit them like we weren’t even there,” Chris Bosh said.

Dwyane Wade missed a layup with 11 seconds left, and the Jazz began celebrating arguably its best victory of the season.

Streamers fell from the rafters at Energy Solutions Arena after the final buzzer. It was Utah’s first victory in five games.

LeBron James has turned in some masterful performances in Utah throughout his career, but the second game of this road trip was not one of them. James finished with just 13 points, going 4 of 13 from the field and 1 of 6 from three-point range. He settled too often for his jump shot, and that lack of energy permeated throughout the Heat’s lineup.

“We played well enough defensively to win the game,” James said. “Offensively, we didn’t shoot the ball well, like we are capable of doing. That is what it came down to.”

The Heat shot 43.3 percent from the field and 30.4 percent (7 of 23) from three-point range. It was Miami’s worst shooting percentage since Jan. 10 when it shot 42.5 percent in a loss at Brooklyn.

Chris Bosh had 13 points, going just 3 of 12 from the field. He was 0 of 3 from three-point range. Wade led the Heat (35-14) with 19 points.

Miami is now just two losses from matching its total number of losses from last season.

Marvin Williams led the Jazz with 23 points. His three-pointer with 3:35 left gave Utah an 87-79 lead.

Jefferson had 14 points and Burke had 13. Gordon Hayward had nine points, nine rebounds and 11 assists.

A defensive blunder at the three-point line by Wade gave Jefferson three free throws with 9:21 left in the game and Jefferson made them all to put the Jazz ahead 75-68. The Jazz won despite going 12 of 19 from the free-throw line.

A three-pointer by Shane Battier with 3:54 left in the third quarter cut Utah’s lead to 64-61. Battier had eight points, going 2 of 3 from three-point range.

Like so many nights this season, the Heat began the game with defensive indifference and allowed Williams to score 12 points in the opening period. Utah shot over 61 percent in the first 12 minutes and led by as many as 14 points.

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