The vastly injured and out-manned Utah Jazz defeated the Miami Heat 98-83 tonight. While they were out-manned, they were not out-gunned as the Gordon Hayward we saw demolish the Los Angeles Clippers came out to play tonight and detonated for 34 points. Utah didn't need every single one this time around as the defense turned it up and suffocated Miami into shooting 41.5 FG%, 31.6 3PT%, and even a pitiful 52.9 FT%. I guess it's obvious that the defense was going to get a bump when starting center Rudy Gobert was brought back into the starting lineup. He really produced out there in injury-recovery dictated limited minutes, including four blocks and four assists in addition to his points and rebounds.
I did not get a chance to watch any of this game, and because I'm a superstitious fan who chooses to disregard B.F. Skinner's experimental work on superstitions, I got home in the 4th quarter, saw that the Jazz were up, and knew that if I turned on the TV the team would lose. So Quin Synder, you are welcome.
The Heat were most likely lulled into believing that this was a trap game, facing a team without Derrick Favors (starter), Rodney Hood (starter), Dante Exum (starter), and Alec Burks (guy that Dwyane Wade was talking up a few nights ago). Miami was as healthy as they could be, Hassan Whiteside had a double double blocks, Chris Bosh finished with 24 points, and both Goran Dragic and D-Wade took a whole bunch of shots (28 in total). Utah just outplayed them tonight.
Astute fans will notice that this continues the streak of beating Miami at least once every season for a million years running. The Jazz finished with 19 assists tonight and 10 steals. They kept their head up and were sharing the ball out there and helping playing get good shots. A big beneficiary tonight was Chris Johnson -- in his first start at SG for the Jazz in his two year career. Johnson went 6/9 from the field and knocked down two threes. But he wasn't just a one way player, no sir. He also added four rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two blocks. So, yeah, maybe Rodney Hood shouldn't start when he's healthy? Great job Christapher! Raul Neto must have been really happy to actually have his teammates make shots tonight, as he finished with 14 points, 5 assists, 3 steals, and 2 rebounds. He out-Dragic'd Dragic.
But at the end of the day, gotta give a lot of props to Gordon Hayward. Only 10 guys dressed tonight. Two rookies started. A NBA-DL guy on a non-guaranteed finished with 14 points. And he was one of only four guys to hit double digits (Trey Burke's 11 off the bench completes the foursome of Hayward, Johnson, and Neto.) Gordon stepped up and gave a star performance on offense, making 34 points in 22 shots. He didn't fill out the rest of the box score, but his offensive performance help put the Jazz in the lead -- and helped keep the Jazz out of striking distance for most of the game.
Utah plays next tomorrow at home, hosting the Los Angeles Lakers!