For Miami, this game was nothing more than a modest step forward. Again, the Heat had a subpar second half, nearly squandering a 16-point lead and having to fight until the waning moments against a team that has only six wins this season. The Jazz went on a 20-5 run in the third to get back in the game; Miami largely moved away from the dribble penetration and ball movement that got them the comfortable early lead. Utah exploited Heat breakdowns on defense, and Enes Kanter punished the Heat with his 25 points on 10-of-17 shooting.
But the Heat also put together some sequences they can build from. Miami didn't play well offensively in the second half, but had some strong possessions on defense in the fourth. The Heat players forced pivotal 24- and five-second violations, played much better 3-point defense (the Jazz shot 8-for-28 from beyond the arc) and dove for numerous loose balls. Miami's effort level was noticeably higher than it was in most of the Heat's losses. Sometimes, that's all it takes.
The closing minutes of the game featured a lot of frenetic activity, including two times the team couldn't even inbound the ball in the final 15 seconds. But Chris Bosh's turnaround fadeaway to put the Heat up six with 58.9 seconds left was deft, reminiscent of his game-winning fadeaway against the Charlotte Hornets earlier this season. Bosh finished with 22 points on 9-of-16 shooting from the field and nine boards. Bosh's 1-for-5 shooting from beyond the arc obscures his great shooting night. From the elbows and inside the paint, Bosh was a maestro, eluding defenders and nailing open jumpers.
Dwyane Wade missed the Heat's shoot-around and was listed as questionable. He wasn't limited at all, though, penetrating at will to find open teammates at first and then finding open seams in the defense for layups. He finished with 29 points on 10-of-16 shooting from the field and 8-of-12 from the foul line and seven assists.
Wade went away from his aggression in the second half -- everybody on the Heat did -- but still came through in the clutch. In one 42-second fourth-quarter sequence, Wade nailed a 3 before driving and finding Mario Chalmers in the corner on Miami's subsequent possession. He also made three free throws in the closing seconds to keep the Jazz at bay.
For the second straight night, Justin Hamilton started. The 2012 Heat second-round draft pick invited 60 of his friends and family to the game, and they saw some highlights. Hamilton finished with a career-high nine points and four rebounds. He made back-to-back baskets in the final six minutes of the game and looked impressive in the opening minutes, making a hook shot and then making a great entry pass to Bosh for a baby hook. He needs to improve on defense and committed five fouls in 29 minutes, but he's a serviceable big man.
Luol Deng chipped in 14 points, although they all came in the first half. In many ways, Deng's play epitomized the Heat's game tonight -- he was aggressive in the first half, cutting to the basket and getting to the paint. But in the second half, it was easy to forget Deng was even on the court. For the second straight game, Danny Granger was Deng's backup. The longtime Indiana Pacer played well in his first-half stint, making two 3s. In the second half, Granger was ineffective, even blowing a second-chance opportunity with a wild layup attempt after Bosh dove for the offensive board.
The Heat will host the Chicago Bulls Sunday at 6 p.m. and try to improve to .500.