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Game #8: Utah Jazz (3-3) vs. Miami Heat (5-2)

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I still think this is one of the most unique and cool player intros in the NBA.
I still think this is one of the most unique and cool player intros in the NBA.

Fresh off of their convincing and balanced win over the New Jersey Nets on Saturday night, the Heat get back at it tonight when they welcome the Utah Jazz to South Beach.  With the majority of the attention surrounding Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James, the three are gradually getting more and more comfortable on the court together. 

Saturday's game was the first time that all three players scored at least 20 points, and each make an impact in a different way.  Wade collected 10 rebounds, James dished out 9 assists and Bosh worked on his low post game, getting to the foul line consistently while committing no fouls or turnovers himself. 

Wade and James have both had their share of success against Utah.  In his career, Dwyane has averaged 32.3 points when playing the Jazz at home.  LeBron, meanwhile, has averaged 33.3 points over the last six times he played against Utah.  That doesn't suit well for the Jazz, who are coming off of a big double overtime win over the Clippers on Saturday.

After starting the season 0-2, Utah has won three of its last four games.  They look great in their wins and not so great in their losses, averaging 118.0 points in the three victories while putting up just 86.7 points in the three defeats.  They rank right about the same league-wise in points for and against, scoring 102.3 (12th in NBA) and giving up 103.1 (11th).

A big reason for the turnaround is guard Deron Williams.  He started the season shooting just 27% in Utah's two losses, scoring 15.0 points.  That changed quickly, as did the Jazz' win total.  In the four games since, Williams has averaged 22.8 points while shooting 48%.  Just like with the Heat in years past, as Williams goes so does the Jazz. 

GAME NOTES

  • Miami has won 7-stright games against Utah at the AAA and 11 of the 13 overall.
  • In their three wins the Jazz has scored 120, 125 and 107 points. 
  • This is game two of a 6-game homestand.  The Heat is 3-0 at home, winning by an average of 23.4 points. 
  • As for Utah, they begin a 4-game road trip that is essentially a tour of the Southeast Division.  After they leave Miami they'll head to Orlando, Atlanta and Charlotte.
  • Mark of consistency?  Big Z is shooting 68% in his last four games. 
  • Jazz center Mehmet Okur is out with an Achilles injury. 

Tipoff from the AAA is set for 7:30.  For those of you outside of South Florida, the game will be broadcast on NBA TV.