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ReHeat: The Jazz claw their way out of 22 point deficit to overcome Heat

You’re in Vegas, a wealthy man approaches you and bets you $50,000 that his favorite power forward Paul Millsap would hit more three point shots than Heat three point specialist James Jones. It takes a few Googling minutes to see Millsap has made 2-out-of-20 threes in his 5 year career and that James Jones has made 450-out-of-1127. You give the man a You’re Crazy look but he has cash in hand. If you’re a sane person, you take that bet, fifty-thousand times over. Anyone would take it...............and the man would be $50K richer. It was that kind of game for the Heat. Part presumptuous, part luck, part recoil. The offense initiated right into Bosh, the most recent Heat under the media microscope, as he responded to the criticism with the most combativeness seen from him this season. Bosh attacked the paint instead of settling for jump shots and hustled for rebounds with the extra confidence oomph. The Heat defense contested shots, deflected passes and dismantled Sloan’s flex offense, limiting All-Star Deron Williams to 2 points and 2 assists and Al Jefferson scoreless. Somehow, Paul Millsap seeped through the cracks and mustered 13 points as the Jazz were limited to 32 points at the half. The Heat came into this game cognizant of the discipline required to overcome the Utah Jazz and they were hitting on all cylinders. Miami 51, Jazz 32. After what was likely a stern word from Hall of Famer coach Jerry Sloan (23rd year as coach) which might or might not have included a buffet of explicit words, the Jazz returned with the necessary adjustments to begin the double digit excavation. A 19 point deficit is a tall mountain to overcome but the Jazz are not the submissive kind. The usual imperious 3rd quarter went to the Jazz as the Heat settled for long two pointers and were continuously dominated in the paint by Paul "The Fury" Millsap. Numbers say the 3rd quarter saw the Jazz outscore the Heat 30-24 (2 away from matching their total first half output) but it was the message that carried the weight. Cutting the lead to 13, the Jazz saw an opening and went for the jugular. The Heat had become presumptuous in their lead, the Jazz exploded and a basketball cosmic riot ensued. The 4th quarter was pure unadultered dynamite as the Jazz tied the game in 5 minutes of play. With a 13-4 run, the Heat went up 92-85 with a little over 2 minutes away from victory. Both teams went into We Love This Game mode and made equally clutch baskets and defensive stops. The battlestorm grew quiet as the Heat led by 6 and the Jazz resourced to fouling Wade, who hit both and put the Heat up by 8 with 37 of the longest seconds in history remaining. The events that followed were as much luck as it was skill and as much skill as it was recoil for the Voltron unification. Paul Millsap hit three back-to-back threes, the Heat missed key free throws, Deron Williams fouled out on an off-the-ball inbounds play gifting the Heat a free throw and the ball, and Millsap ultimately tied the game on an Artest-like putback at the buzzer (may have been an offensive foul). The overtime was simply a box full of clutch-olates and an eerie finishing sequence consisting of Francisco Elson getting fouled with 0.4 seconds to go, making the first free throw, and attempting to miss the second but banking it in putting the Jazz up by two. Game, set, and match.

For every action, there’s a reaction and the unity of the big three in Miami has created an unspoken thirst to defeat the Superstar Goliath. To say opponents are bringing their A game is an understatement. Although teams will deny the importance of the red ink circling the Heat dates in their calendar, visits to South Beach heighten their awareness and desire to beat the odds. Adrenaline oozes out of their competitive pores. It brought the best game out of Emeka Okafor’s life last Friday against the Hornets, and this time manifested itself in Paul Millsap and the Jazz’s relentless will to survive.


The Jazz scored 72 points on 30-45 shooting (67%) in the second half.

The Heat were outscored by 20 points in the paint (56-36).

Lebron James had his 29th triple double with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists.

James Jones dribbled. Yes really.