Wade gets 29, Heat stifle Jazz in 80-70 win
MIAMI (AP)—A year ago, this matchup was all about offense. This time around, all about defense.
Wade scored 29 points and the Heat survived the NBA’s slowest first half this season on the way to beating the Jazz 80-70 on Wednesday night, a game where both teams oddly set season marks for fewest points scored and fewest points allowed.
“We needed it, a grind-out game where we didn’t shoot the ball well,” Wade said.
Udonis Haslem(notes) added 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Heat, who improved to 11-1 against Utah since the start of the 2004-05 season. Quentin Richardson(notes) scored 11 for Miami, which managed 81 points in a win over New Jersey last month, and reserve Joel Anthony(notes) was vital after starting center Jermaine O’Neal(notes) got hurt, finishing with eight points, nine rebounds and five blocks.
Deron Williams(notes) scored 18 points and Carlos Boozer(notes) scored 14—12 in the opening minutes—for the Jazz, who held Miami to 36 percent shooting but had 21 turnovers that the Heat turned into 28 points, plus got outscored 31-19 in the third quarter.
Utah’s previous season low in scoring was 77 against the Los Angeles Lakers on Dec. 9. The Jazz are 0-5 when scoring under 90 points this season, and have lost 54 of their last 55 games since February 1999 when scoring less than 80.
“Regardless of how bad you shoot or how many times you turn the ball over you still have to have that defensive effort,” Williams said. “And we didn’t have that in the third quarter.”
The Jazz finished 2-3 on a five-game road trip.
“You can use excuses but you’ve got to want it more than that,” Williams said. “It’s something more mental than physical—ready to go home. But you’ve got to try to win before you get home.”
Utah’s visit to Miami last season was a scoring bonanza, a 140-129 Heat win in triple overtime that featured Wade scoring 50 points and 10 different players reaching double figures.
This meeting? Absolutely nothing like it.
After one, Miami led 32-30. Not one quarter. One half.
It was the lowest-scoring first half in the NBA this season, besting— worsening?—the 38-30 offensive slugfest between Portland and Charlotte on Nov. 14, according to STATS LLC.
“They were all over us,” Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. “They took the ball out of our hands. We couldn’t handle the basketball. They wanted the ball. They got up on our face and took it away from us.”
Boozer scored Utah’s first 12 points of the game and finished 5 of 7 in the half. His teammates combined to shoot 9 of 27 in the first 24 minutes.
Utah went 6 1/2 minutes without scoring during one stretch, missing nine straight shots with four turnovers. The teams combined to shoot 36 percent (26 for 72) with 21 turnovers in the half, and Utah proceeded to set season lows for scoring in a quarter twice—16 points in the first (previous low 18) and 14 in the second (previous 15).
Utah’s last lead came after a layup by Williams with 9:37 left in the quarter, putting the Jazz up 35-34. The Heat seized command from there with a 23-5 run, Wade getting 10 of those points.
“We needed it,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “You can defend every single possession, but if you’re not putting the ball in the basket that can be discouraging. And that gave us some life.”
Wade, the reigning NBA scoring champion, shot 6 of 12 in the third quarter. He capped the period by splitting two defenders off the dribble and then elevating past Mehmet Okur(notes) and Andrei Kirilenko(notes) for a dunk that put the Heat up 63-49 going into the fourth.
“They’re a tough team, definitely a tough team,” Haslem said. “I think we grew up a lot from playing a team like Utah.”
NOTES: Professional poker star Phil Ivey was courtside, and Rwandan President Paul Kagame also was at the game. … Utah fell to 5-9 on the road. … Boozer’s 12 points to open Utah’s scoring was the most consecutively by a Heat opponent this season. … O’Neal left after three minutes with a strained groin and did not return. … Jazz forward Paul Millsap(notes) left in the third quarter, needing 10 stitches in his mouth after fouling Anthony, who inadvertently struck him in the mouth with an elbow. Millsap also was diagnosed with a mild concussion. … Heat president Pat Riley donated $20,000 this week to military families and the America’s Moms for Soldiers program, helping send care packages to over 500 soldiers currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.