Erik Spoelstra's controversial decision to bench Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will get scrutinized in the coming days. - Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
An unusual Miami lineup that did not feature Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh nearly made up a 19-point fourth-quarter deficit, but LeBron James' 32 points on 19 shots did not overcome the Jazz's stellar play through three quarters.
The Miami Heat entered the fourth quarter of its game at the Utah Jazz down 19 points. But a lineup of Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen, LeBron James, Rashard Lewis and Joel Anthony played great basketball on both ends of the court, cutting the deficit to two points with 3:32 left to play. Gordon Hayward made a fadeaway jumper with 40 seconds left, though, to ice the game for the Jazz. The Heat fell to 1-3 on its six-game road trip and 24-12 on the season.
Dwyane Wade sat out the entire fourth quarter, and Chris Bosh only played the last 40 seconds of the final stanza of play. The narrative out of tonight's game will center on Erik Spoelstra's decision to stick with the lineup that made the valiant rally in the fourth quarter. The lineup played great defense -- save for one early fourth-quarter possession that included three Heat fouls, getting the Jazz in the bonus early -- and Lewis was surprisingly active on the glass (Bosh only grabbed one rebound in 27 minutes). Ray Allen made two big 3s in the fourth, while Wade played very passive defense on Hayward in the second quarter. Wade also missed three free-throws and a couple shots in the paint. The one positive from Wade was that he drove baseline three times for three nice dunks early in the game.
James dominated the game, especially in the fourth. Only great players can get Joel Anthony easy shots in the pick-and-roll, and James did it twice. Anthony made a two-handed slam to bring Miami within 90-93 the first time, and the Heat's 6-foot-9 center earned a trip to the foul line on the other possession. He finished with 32 points on 13-of-19 shooting and also defended bigger players like Derrick Favors and Al Jefferson in the Heat's lone good defensive quarter.
The Heat had no business being in this game, getting outscored 19-0 on second-chance points. The Jazz also scored 59 points on the Heat in the first half. In spite of Miami's comeback, some will be concerned about the Heat's recent inconsistent play and rebounding deficiencies. But the Heat also struggled mightily on the road last year after the All-Star break. Miami needs to play better, the team has shown its capable of playing well when it wants to. Even tonight.