The Utah Jazz (7-4) dropped the Miami Heat (2-6) 102-91. This game was a lot different than the Orlando Magic game where both teams missed 100 combined FG attempts. I’m not saying that this was an offensive showdown, far from it. Early on Utah could make a three, and Miami was really struggling for stretches of this game. But what made this different was that this was the emergence of a Jazz team that is finding ways to finish games early. Last season so many games were lost in the fourth quarter. That’s not happening this season. And this game in particular — a trap game because the Heat were without key players (Chris Bosh who is still on their roster and payroll, and Goran Dragic who is playing great), while also being a schedule loss game as the second night in a back to back, the third game in four nights, and the fifth game in seven — was precisely the type of game the Jazz would drop in seasons bygone.
Utah was up by only 2 after one quarter, and then just 5 at half. Sure, our guys were playing without starting point guard George Hill, halfcourt face-up wizard Boris Diaw, and the dynamic “make something out of nothing” Alec Burks. But starting power forward Derrick Favors got hurt again (not injured) but would only play in his first quarter stint and not come back at halftime. Utah was missing guys, and it was a close game — which we expected. Hassan Whiteside was drawing fouls and finishing near the rim. And their college of misfits were doing stuff off the bench (Tyler Johnson, James Johnson, and Rodney McGruder to name a few). This did not look like an easy Jazz win after 12 minutes.
But head coach Quin Snyder really fired the troops up at halftime because they locked Miami down. Bigtime. Midway through the third their only points came from Josh McRoberts, as Utah turned up the defensive pressure, and capitalized on the other end. Rodney Hood and Joe Johnson have taken turns playing the part of assassin this season.
But since returning from injury Gordon Hayward has been a man on a mission. He was indomitable tonight. Justise Winslow, a strong player, just couldn’t do anything to prevent G-Time from taking over this game.
Utah doubled up Miami in the third, 24-12. A five point halftime lead became nearly twenty.
In the fourth quarter it only continued to grow past 20. This was a blowout on the verge until Miami fought back to make it an 11 point lead. Quin Snyder kept the troops in longer than he would have wanted — but still not too long — and made sure to get the win tonight. And while this would be precisely the type of game other Jazz teams would lose, this is evidence we can use to support the theory that this is not like those other Jazz teams.
Heck, Shelvin Mack is coming out of halftime looking to straight up go full-Apache on the other team, with quickness and determination to get into the paint, score, and play scrappy defense.
The big show in this game was obviously Hassan Whiteside against Rudy Gobert. And it was pretty much a wash. Whiteside had 15 / 14 / 2 / 1, and went 3/6 from the line. Gobert had 12 / 12 / 2 / 2, and went 6/8 from the line. Whiteside taking 7 more shots to score 3 more points isn’t impressive to me. They both played 33 minutes and their +/- are almost inverses of one another. Whiteside was -23, and Gobert was +22.
Mr. Gobert...cleanup on aisle two... pic.twitter.com/8CbpQVpcqc— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) November 13, 2016
Very solid win for this Jazz team, that just went 4-1 on the road. Bravo. They fly home tonight, and will have Sunday off. Then suit up and play the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday. I don’t know if George Hill or Derrick Favors will play. I hope they do.