This was a delicious basketball game. Of course the Miami Heat and their fans will savor the taste more than their counterparts, but if you look at the game from a neutral point of view, it was an exciting NBA encounter.
The first quarter went back and forth with neither team able to sustain a run and build a big lead. The Heat usually remained a few points ahead, but the Jazz would string together one solid possession after another and match Miami bucket for bucket. In the second, Miami was able to extend to a ten point lead before a late run by Utah cut the lead to 56-50 at the break.
The third quarter got off to a great start for Miami, who extended their lead to twelve points, but then the game turned. In a matter of moments the Jazz answered Miami's run and the building came alive. The Heat looked frustrated on offense and started turning the ball over. It looked a lot like that November 9th game, in which Utah overcame a 22-point deficit to win. By the end of the third, the Jazz had taken a one point lead. Coming into this game they were 10-0 in games they took a lead to the fourth quarter.
Thankfully for the Heat, they owned tonight's final period. A James Jones three, then two more by Dwyane Wade highlighted a 15-5 run to take a 94-83 lead. The Jazz would cut into that lead but from then on, every question that was asked, was answered by Miami. Lebron James puncuated the night with an alley-oop dunk with just over three minutes remaining. Then he tipped in a Wade miss. Several free throws later the game was over. Miami outscored Utah 34-20 in the fourth.
For Miami it's their sixth win in a row, pushing them to 15-8 on the season. They are 2-0 on this road trip with a back-to-back remaining against the Warriors and Kings on Friday and Saturday. But for now, savor this one Heat fans. It has to be one of the more satisfying victories of the season to date.
- Al Jefferson was the man. He finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds. It seemed like more. Not quite November 9th Paul Millsap level, but very strong.
- Speaking of Millsap, he was kind of quiet. Not a bad game (18-5), but nowhere near the impact of the previous affair.
- Huge props to Zydrunas Ilguaskas. He basically kept the Heat with a pulse in the 3rd quarter. He scored 12 in that quarter and somehow the Heat were still outscored 28-21. He also posted his first double-double as a Heat player finising with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
- Solid night for Dampier. Box score won't impress, but he gave good minutes in the second quarter. He looks better with every game.
- Lebron did his thing. When he's hitting the outside shot there is not much you can do. And it didn't look like he was forcing things. As great as it looked, you could almost call it a quiet night of 33 pts, 7 ast, 9 reb.
- And Wade, not to be outdone finished with a nifty 28-4-4. His fire was lit in the second quarter when the smaller Ronnie Price was guarding him. Price won the first couple of possesions, but Wade owned the rest, against him or any other defender.
- Bosh, well he did have the quiet night (14-9-3) but his moments came at the right time.