The Heat came into Utah on the second night of a back-to-back and were relentless holding on to beat the Jazz at the wire. See how it went down below.
The Heat started out strong with McRoberts connecting on a midrange jumper. Despite their early success Miami once again went into a small scoring drought. Dragic worked hard to spark the offense early on, but Miami seemed confused in what their roles actually were. This was most likely a response to the ever alternating starting lineup. Nevertheless, Goran took charge scoring on three straight plays. The Heat were quite efficient in the first quarter going 53% from the field.
The Heat stayed competitive throughout the first quarter with solid play from McGruder, Dragic and Ellington heading into the second down one point.
Miami was great defensively to start the second quarter, and the Heat reserves also impressed on offense. Ellington was spectacular from beyond the arc, scoring with what seemed like no space on each attempt. Ellington’s return to the Heat lineup has been great, though his minutes are inflated with Richardson out he’s been a solid contributor on both offense and defense. James Johnson was also able to connect from beyond the arc allowing the Heat to take the lead early in the quarter.
The Heat sped up on offense and battered the Jazz on a 13-2 run. Additionally, Miami’s defense was exceptional as they held Utah scoreless for nearly five minutes. As the first half came to a close Utah showed signs of life going on a 7-0 run, and scoring regularly down the stretch, but the Heat would hold on ending the first half up 4.
The Heat opened the second half without Luke Babbitt who was taken to the locker room with back spasms (he would not return). Ellington opened the half with yet another three pointer, but Utah answered with one of their own. Miami attempted to feed Whiteside in the key to get him going, but his struggles continued. On the other end, Utah started to roll again led by Hayward. It’s not as if Miami was playing bad defense on Hayward either, he’s just really good.
The Heat wouldn’t relent, battling back with bursts from Whiteside, Tyler Johnson and James Johnson and taking the lead once again. The Heat put together some really nice scoring plays to end the quarter, heading into the fourth quarter strong.
It was James Johnson leading the charge for Miami to start the fourth sparking a 6-0 run for the Heat. However, despite Miami’s surge Utah’s Joe Ingles battled back with two threes of his own. The Heat and Jazz started to go back and forth, but it was Goran Dragic who took over the game scoring multiple times from beyond the arc and slashing his way into the key for buckets.
Utah fought back hard with scrappy play from Hayward, Joe Johnson and Joe Ingles. With 1:15 to go, Tyler Johnson stole the ball and subsequently turned it over allowing for a Hayward score. Miami would take a timeout with 13 seconds to go. A Miami play to put the game away failed with an inside pass to Whiteside being flubbed and Utah getting possession. Utah would call a timeout with 3.9 seconds to go, and were forced to call another because of Miami’s defense. Following the timeout the Jazz elected to get it to Hayward who shot from the midrange, but was well challenged by James Johnson. Rudy Gobert grabbed the board and put up a shot, but it was after the buzzer resulting in a great Heat win.
- This is the best game I’ve seen Miami play this season. Despite the injuries to both teams, the Heat showed a lot of heart and it payed off.
- Goran Dragic was exceptional, if he continues to take charge at the end of games the way he did tonight Miami is in good hands.
- James Johnson was fantastic, it’s great to see him getting minutes and performing as well as he has. His defense in the final possession won Miami the game.
- Wayne Ellington played very well. Miami was lacking his scoring punch while he was sidelined and will need him to continue his stellar play in the future.
- Whiteside came alive in the second half, but he needs to be better. It’s unacceptable to be invisible for one half of the game.