It became obvious to me while watching this game that the Heat fell victim to the party town that is Salt Lake City. As often happens to team when they come to Miami, the Heat must have gone straight to the happening night-life part of town (The Bearded Goat, The Butter Churn or whatever the hotspots are in Utah) and couldn't recover in time to play the Jazz on Monday night. Damn you, Salt Lake City...why do you have to be such a happening party location and distraction to our amazing basketball team?
In the early stages of the game, the Heat looked much better offensively. Why? Because they were hitting their jumpers. When that happens, it's very difficult to look bad. Defensively it was another story as the Jazz were doing pretty much what they wanted, driving the lane and slashing through our defenders. Luckily, that wouldn't last as the Heat started manning up.
Michael Beasley started out very solid scoring 5 quick points, but was benched less then half way through the opening quarter with 2 fouls. Still, the Heat were keeping pace with Utah. What bothered me early on was that all the Jazz seemed to be doing was faking a shot, driving and passing out for a wide open jumper. They didn't even need to make an extra pass to find an open guy.
Suddenly out of nowhere...our biggest fear came up front and center. Dwyane Wade was going for a loose ball but was tripped up and his right wrist ended up getting bent back awkwardly, and immediately Wade was taken out of the game. He was looked at briefly on the bench before being taken back to the Heat locker room. Scary scary moments for Heat fans. The play came with 1:22 left in the 1st quarter.
After Wade came out of the game, the Heat began to sputter significantly. Utah immediately went on a 10-2 run to go up by 8 as the Heat just looked lost out there. Some of the shots that were being missed were downright ugly. A Mario Chalmers triple would be the first Heat field goal in about 5 game minutes, just to give you an idea of the sudden offensive wall that Miami ran into.
And then....Wade came back about halfway through the 2nd quarter. He left with the game tied at 20, he came back with the score 34-24. His first touch was a nice drive and score, as if to tell us all ‘its all good, I'm alright'. Unfortunately his team was still seriously struggling, allowing Utah to go on a 17-6 run to pump their lead up to 15. Wade got a couple late buckets but the Heat still went into the half down by 11.
Watching the beginning of the 2nd half I found myself thinking ‘Are the Jazz really that good...? Nah, we're just that bad on defense'. It got especially bad down low with Boozer and Okur making Jermaine and Joel look downright silly. Then just for good measure, Okur hit a trey to put the Jazz up 20. Utah was passing the ball so well, the Heat had absolutely no answer defensively. Even if Miami could somehow catch up, there was no way they could get a defensive stop in a crucial moment.
The white flag was being waived when the Heat come out with the backcourt of Chalmers and Cook. The Heat were down by around 25 so its no surprise that they pulled their starters, but the way this team has been playing is just gross. Even when they get going on offense, one little stumble and they fall completely off track. And defensively they just look lost. Plain and simple.
- When Rafer drove on Okur and got blocked in the 1st half I thought to myself ‘OK, that was a little dumb'. Then the same thing happened again in the 3rd quarter. Shouldn't Skip know that when you drive against a guy who is like a foot taller then you, that is going to happen more times then not?
- The Heat turned the ball over 17 times against the Jazz. That's 32 turnovers in the last two days/games.
- In those two games the Heat shot exactly 40% from the field, making 66-of-165 shots. Guh-rowss.
- Michael Beasley played the least amount of minutes out of any Heat starter (22) but still led the Heat in points with 20. He should think about taking more treys because he hit 4-of-7 from beyond the arc last night, and they all looked really good.
- Daequan Cook, on the other hand, looked pretty bad. He played 15 minutes, the most since December 31st, shot 3-for-10 from the field and 2-for-8 from 3-point range. It's getting to the point where you have to think he has just completely forgot how to shoot the ball.
- Udonis Haslem missed his first four shots but still had 10 boards by halftime. I still think that he is our most consistent jumpshooter.
- Did any of you notice Andrei Kirilenko out there without hair gel? He looked like the ‘That 70's Show' version of himself.
Let's just be thankful that we get a day with no Heat game tomorrow. After the way the last two games have gone down, I'm ready for a break. The Heat will get back at it on Wednesday night when they play the Oakland Warriors at 10:30 our time. Considering how well they've played in their last two games, I'm sure there will be lots of us staying up for that one!