Heat 88, Jazz 86

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MIAMI (AP)—Antoine Walker hit a long 3-pointer in the final minutes, then turned and urged the Miami Heat crowd to calm down.

“They get a little antsy sometimes,” Walker said. “But it’s cool. I like it. It’s fun. Makes it more exciting.”

In the end, Walker made sure those fans went home happy.

He scored all 13 of his points in the final 11 minutes, and the streaking Heat erased a 17-point second-half deficit to beat the Utah Jazz 88-86 on Tuesday night.

Miami was down 14 entering the fourth quarter before outscoring Utah 28-12 in the period to win their seventh straight game overall and 13th in a row at home. They moved within a half-game of idle Washington for the Southeast Division lead.

“Antoine was great,” Heat coach Pat Riley said. “When the game counted most, he made all his stuff work.”

Walker was 0-for-6 entering the fourth, then shot 6-for-11 in the final quarter—doubling the total field-goal output in the last 12 minutes by the Jazz, who were 3-for-14 in the decisive period.

And still, Utah led in the final minute. Mehmet Okur’s 3-pointer with 1:28 left put Utah up 86-85, before Eddie Jones hit a pair of free throws after a loose-ball foul with 52.2 seconds remaining to give Miami the lead for good. Udonis Haslem added a free throw with 2.7 seconds to play, and the defending NBA champions held on when Carlos Boozer missed from the left baseline at the buzzer.

“We choked, plain and simple,” Jazz guard Deron Williams said. “We played good, aggressive basketball, but then we break down and don’t do a good job in the fourth quarter. They outplayed us and outhustled us.”

Utah, which had its six-game winning streak snapped, was 14-0 in road games which it led entering the fourth.

Jason Williams scored 15 points, Shaquille O’Neal added 13, Jones had 12 and Haslem had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Heat.

Boozer had 20 points and 13 rebounds, while Okur finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Jazz, whose six-game winning streak was snapped. Deron Williams had 15 points, Matt Harpring 12 and Gordan Giricek 10 for Utah.

“We have to grow up and get stronger and not let people take us out of our game,” said Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, who called Utah’s fourth-quarter shot selection “horrible.”

Miami matched its largest comeback of the season and finished a 6-0 homestand—all without Dwyane Wade, the reigning NBA finals MVP who is out with a dislocated left shoulder.

“With D-Wade out, everybody’s been stepping up,” Walker said. “And every night, it’s been someone different for us.”

Utah has lost its last seven meetings against Miami, a streak that started Jan. 15, 2004.

The Heat missed 12 shots around the basket in the first half, and that array of botched layups and putbacks contributed heavily to Miami shooting 36 percent in the opening two quarters—after which Utah led 48-35.

Utah used a 19-4 run over 5 1/2 minutes of the first quarter to turn a tie game into a 30-15 lead, and the closest Miami got over the remainder of the half was 35-27 when Dorell Wright hit from the middle of the lane with 5:50 left before intermission.

Andrei Kirilenko’s first basket of the game put the Jazz up 59-42 with 7:52 left in the third, before the Heat made a bit of a run. Jason Williams hit a 3-pointer and added a pair of free throws, O’Neal had a dunk and Haslem scored from close range to draw Miami to 65-58 with 2:43 in the period.

Utah closed the quarter on a 9-2 run to take a 74-60 lead into the fourth. But the Jazz fizzled from there and the Heat—who shot 12-for-20 in the fourth — rallied once again.

“Nothing really rattles us,” O’Neal said. “A lot of times, when we get behind, it’s because of what we’re not doing. It’s not many teams that can just put us down. … And we always seem to pick it up at the right time.”


Utah dropped to 18-8 against the East. … The Heat will play their first road game of the month in New Jersey on Thursday, then return home for games with Sacramento on Friday and Orlando on Sunday. … Utah took 19 of the game’s first 24 free throws, outscoring Miami 14-2 from the line in the first 25 minutes. … Riley said he still believes former Miami guard Tim Hardaway’s number will be retired by the team someday. Hardaway was widely criticized after making anti-gay remarks last month. “I do think that we are a country and a city that forgives,” Riley said.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
C. Boozer C. Boozer
6-14,  20 Pts
13 Rebs, 5 Assists
S. O'Neal S. O'Neal
6-12,  13 Pts
9 Rebs, 3 Assists

Team Stat Leaders



Tuesday, Mar 13