Quarter one went to the Heat, 29-24, but the main story was Derrick Favors leaving the game after spraining his right ankle with 2:06 left to go in the first quarter. The timetable for his return has yet to be determined, and will be re-evaluated on Saturday. At this time, we know his x-rays were negative, according to the Utah Jazz. With Favors out, points in the paint were exploited by the Heat’s offense, as nearly half the points in the first two quarters were inside the painted area with 30 of 62 points.
The Heat started off hot, shooting 66.7% in the first quarter only to see that hot shooting slightly go down by the half, with the Jazz allowing Miami to shoot 62.9%, the highest of any half this season for the Heat. The Jazz even shot the ball better than average, at 47.4% by the end of the half, but found it hard to compete with the opposition shooting that high of a percentage.
What a difference the second half made for the Jazz though, as Miami shot 22-35 in the first half, to only 14-37 in the second half, while scoring 38 points. Maybe the biggest reason? Jazz head coach, Quin Snyder said the drastic change was because of: “Urgency!”
Snyder went on to say this about the attempted comeback by the Jazz, “I think we didn’t execute well the last couple minutes with force. That’s the time in the game where they’re not going to let you go. The game gets more physical and you have to raise your level. When you begin the game that way you have to fight so hard to raise your level of competitiveness to get back in the game, you expand a lot of energy. At the forefront of the urgency was none other than Jazz center, Rudy Gobert, who in 25 minutes, had 9 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 blocks, taking advantage of the excess minutes, with 26, a season high.
The second half saw no quit in the Jazz, who continued to put pressure on the Heat, and in effect, cooling down Miami, allowing only 8 points in the paint in the 3rd and 4th quarters.
With 8:25 to go in the 4th, the Jazz dropped the lead to two points, before Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers hit back to back threes. In a matter of one minute and seven seconds, the Heat’s lead was back up to eight, but the Jazz continued to battle back, getting the deficit to 3 points at the 5:52 mark, 89-86.
Much like past games this season, the Jazz just couldn’t get past that magic number of two, as in two point deficit.
Still no quit in the Jazz though, as Alec Burks had a chance to make this game two points again with only 2:32 to go in the fourth. Burks was fouled on a three pointer, but only made one of his three free throws, to cut the lead to 4 points. That proved to be one of the last chances for the Jazz. Utah did get the deficit down to two points a couple of times, with under 10 seconds to go in the game, including a chance to tie the game with a 3 pointer. However, with no timeouts left, Joe Ingles was in-bounding the ball but couldn’t get it out of his hands before a 5 second call was whistled, allowing the Heat to finally squeak out the victory, 100-95.
With the loss, the Jazz drop to 6-17 on the season and currently have a 4-9 record at home.
Up next: The 6-17 Jazz start up their annual Christmas road trip on Sunday against the Washington Wizards at 4 o’clock. It’ll be the first of six games on the road. The Wizards are coming off a victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night, 104-96, to bolster their record to 16-6.
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