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Heat squeeze out win vs Jazz in matinee thriller

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Despite an uneven second half, the Miami Heat managed to pick things up down the stretch and squeeze out a great win.

NBA: Utah Jazz at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

First Quarter:

Miami went to Kelly Olynyk following the tip, and he scored effortlessly. It’s amazing to see how far he’s come this season. He’s a real threat, and so fun to watch.

Still the Heat were slow to get rolling on defense, allowing a couple of Utah scores. Two Hassan blocks changed that quickly. In fact, because Hassan got rolling right away, he showed a lot of energy and effort. For him, energy is something that’s been lacking lately and I’m so glad he’s playing with confidence again.

Josh Richardson also continued his strong midrange play, and Tyler Johnson handled some of the scoring load early, hitting some big shots.

Some silly mistakes would allow Utah to regain their bearings and push back into the game on an 8-0 run and take the lead. Their record isn’t indicative of their talent level, between Joe Ingles, Ricky Rubio and Donovan Mitchell they have guys who can cause real trouble.

Thankfully the Heat would get rolling once again with strong play from Dragic, Olynyk and Ellington. Tyler Johnson would cap the quarter off with a coast to coast slam and Miami would head into the second quarter up five.

Second Quarter:

The Heat continued their strong offense from the first, sharing the ball and finding great looks. Derrick Jones Jr. saw some minutes and looked good, on both ends. He’s really taking advantage of his “try-out” with the Heat.

Wayne Ellington stayed hot and Miami took a nine point lead, this would lead them to attempt a full court press in an effort to blow things open a bit.

Utah would find success with Donovan Mitchell leading the charge, as the Jazz cut the lead to one.

Luckily, Miami wouldn’t slow down on the offensive end with James Johnson, and Bam Adebayo making some great buckets to put Miami up five. The Heat are making solid decisions on offense lately, always looking to take the best shot, instead of just shooting. It’s why they’ve found success as of late, and why there have been less scoring droughts.

Utah didn’t go away by any means, they were able to convert multiple looks despite solid defense by the Heat. The Heat would head into the second half up by two.

Third Quarter:

Josh Richardson and Goran Dragic got Miami going to start the third. On the other end they had a huge Donovan Mitchell problem as he scored 9 straight points. The Heat just didn’t seem to have an answer for him on defense, with Tyler Johnson constantly getting burned.

Still, Goran Dragic didn’t let things get out of hand as he put in a handful of crafty buckets.

The Jazz really seemed to come out hungrier than the Heat, almost playing at a different tempo. The Heat defense was awful, with Donovan Mitchell continuing to feast and nobody looking involved.

Luckily Miami stayed consistent on offense, with Tyler Johnson scoring three straight attempts. The offensive consistency allowed them to stay within striking distance.

The Heat picked things up on defense in the final five minutes, but their shot selection became questionable. They hit some shots, but struggled from three point land and looked fairly lethargic. Somehow, Miami would go into the fourth quarter only down one.

Fourth Quarter:

Miami turned things up a notch to start the fourth, stealing back the lead off of big plays by Kelly Olynyk and James Johnson. Utah would stay in the hunt led by Rodney Hood, initiating another lead change and attempting to take control of the game.

Utah would go on a nice run to go up eight, leaving the Heat scrambling to find answers. The Heat just couldn’t get anything to fall. They weren’t even down by much, but they kept shooting threes and well…those threes just didn’t go in.

The Heat caught a few breaks down the stretch and capitalized on their opportunities bringing the game within three. Though the Jazz would return fire on the other end. Josh Richardson, would add an exclamation mark on Miami’s late game push with a huge slam and a huge steal. Goran Dragic would go to the free throw line with Miami down three and sink both.

Donovan Mitchell would score right away on the other end. The Jazz would foul Kelly right after, and bring Miami within one once again. A Rodney Hood miss gave Miami another chance and Coach Spo would call a timeout with 7.8 seconds left.

He’d draw up a play for Richardson, who drove to the rim and scored putting Miami up one with 5.1 seconds left. Donovan Mitchell would miss his game winning attempt, thanks to great defense from Josh allowing the Heat to win their fourth straight.