NBA Regular Season 2012-2013, Game 40:
Miami Heat 97 @ Utah Jazz 104
Jazz looking to keep streak alive
Oh my . . .
Who: The Utah Jazz
What: Build up a substantial 21 point lead
Where: at home
When: in the late third quarter
- Why: because they were aggressive, crashed the boards, got to the line, *AND PLAYED DEFENSE*!
This was a crazy game. The Heat looked like it was going to be SSDD when they went on an early 12-3 run in the first quarter, but the Jazz -- OUR JAZZ -- counter attacked with a mixed lineup of vets and youth to finish the quarter on an 18-4 run of their own. The Jazz led by 5 after one quarter, and it was a non-defensive affair. The second quarter had the Jazz go in a number of sustained runs and outscored the Heat +10 -- our bench guys going 18-6 to start the quarter. The Jazz were up 15 at the half, and a major contributor was DeMarre Carroll. The Jazz bigs were doing their jobs (Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson were a combined 8/13 at halftime), and drew a lot of defense to them. Carroll responded by knocking down jumper after jumper to help support them. DeMarre had all 12 of his points in the first half, and played stellar defense on LeBron James.
We all expected the Heat to fight hard in the third quarter, but the Jazz kept their foot on the collective neck of the Heat and extended the game to a 21 point lead. Ty played his starters all 12 mins (save for Jamaal Tinsley who took the last 3 mins off). This is similar to what Sidney Lowe used to do as the head coach of the Vancouver Grizzlies back in the day, btw. The fear was that the Jazz would be tired and the Heat would finish the game strong. The superior defensive club made it very interesting as they went on a 21-5 run against our entire team -- young, old, vets, green players, bigs, and smalls. The Heat are good. But we had a large enough buffer to hold them off.
Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade did not play at all in the fourth quarter (well, Bosh played the last 0:40 of it) and the difference was apparent. The Jazz dominated the glass. The Heat finished the game with only 18 defensive rebounds. The Jazz had 13 offensive rebounds. So while Miami did shoot 54.2 fg% and 39.1 3pt% -- the Jazz just had too many second and third chances. The smallish, "positional revolutionary" Heat were not capable of boxing out our legion of bigs and enthusiastic hustle guys.
With the game in the balance Gordon Hayward did big things and made big shots. He finished with 22, 4 and 2. Big Al finished with 23, 11, and 1. He went 7/8 from the free throw line and caused problems with his offensive finishing ability. Paul finished with 17 points, he shot 4/14 -- but made up for it with 5 offensive rebounds and 2 steals. He missed the double double by one board. Randy Foye made three threes, Jamaal Tinsley had 7 dimes and 5 boards. Marvin Williams played good defense in his first game back from right knee inflammation. Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, and Alec Burks played a combined 34 minutes tonight, and they had their moments. I would expect them to play a little more against the Cleveland Cavaliers -- four nights from now.
The Heat are good. LeBron James is great (32 points, a lot of other stats) -- but tonight our Jazz were just better. We deserved this win. We fought for it. And we preserved the lead. This wasn't the Heat losing -- this was the Jazz doing what's normal for us: beating the Heat at least once a year, every year, for the last five years in a row.
Don't act surprised.