Boozer, Williams lead Jazz over Heat
SALT LAKE CITY (AP)—The Utah Jazz have discovered the merits of passing and protecting the ball.
The Jazz had 28 assists for the second straight game and capitalized on Miami’s travel fatigue, beating the Heat 118-89 on Monday night.
“That’s what happens when you pass,” Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. “It was nice to see our guys play as well as they did. I thought we passed the ball well and it looked like we cared about each other.”
Williams had 23 points and 10 assists, Boozer finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds and Mehmet Okur(notes) added 13 points and tied his career high with five blocks for Utah, which has won three of four.
The Jazz had just nine turnovers—half as many as the Heat—and matched their assist total from a big win Saturday night at Dallas.
“Tonight we had the same intensity and same focus,” Boozer said. “We did a great job of sharing the ball.”
Wesley Matthews(notes) added 18 points and Andrei Kirilenko(notes) had 15 points and three assists while starting for C.J. Miles(notes), who was out with a viral infection. Ronnie Brewer(notes) had eight assists and Boozer added four.
In the last two games, the Jazz have 56 assists and 14 turnovers.
“It’s fun to play like that,” Williams said. “Hopefully we can realize if we play like that we’re going to have a high success rate.”
The Heat lost to the Clippers 94-84 on Sunday night in Los Angeles and were listless after keeping it close in the first quarter.
Miami lost for the sixth time in eight games and fell to .500 for the first time in a month.
“It wasn’t a game that we could walk our way through it and didn’t wake up,” Wade said. “They played very well from start to finish and there was no way we were denying them a win tonight.”
Miami’s 18 turnovers led to 21 points for the Jazz, who had lost four straight to the Heat.
“They’re a very aggressive team and they played well,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “In the first half they challenged us at the rim enough times to get us out of our rhythm and they turned those blocked shots or changed shots into layups going to the other end.”
It showed in the Jazz’s shooting as they went 44 of 77 and outscored the Heat 58-24 in the paint. Utah made 9 of 15 3-pointers and capitalized on the Heat’s fatigue.
“We’ve got a lot of ground to make up,” Boozer said. “We lost some games we should have won. If we can put together a nice little win streak, we can make up some ground. Ain’t no time better to do it than right now.”
It didn’t help Miami when Wade and Utah rookie Sundiata Gaines(notes) collided while going for a loose ball and Wade landed hard on his right side with 1:22 left in the first quarter. Wade stayed down for several minutes until trainers helped him to the bench, where he stayed until midway through the second quarter.
By then Utah’s lead was already pushing double figures and the Jazz continued to pour it on for a 58-47 halftime lead.
Udonis Haslem’s(notes) jumper got Miami within 61-51, but Okur answered quickly with a jumper and Kirilenko followed with a layup off an assist from Brewer. Richardson’s 3-pointer cut it to 11, but Williams was there to tip in a missed hook shot by Boozer and Williams added two more free throws with 6:35 left to put Utah up 69-54.
The Jazz were up 88-71 late in the third when Matthews got Wade up in the air just before the buzzer and drew a foul on a 3-pointer with two-tenths of a second left in the period. Matthews made two of the three shots to put Utah up 90-71 entering the fourth quarter.
The Jazz opened the fourth with a 3-pointer by Williams, forced a turnover and got a jumper by Boozer from the top of the key for a 95-71 lead with 11:06 left in the game, starting the 14-2 run that ended it.
Boozer was 6 of 8 in the first half for 15 points and Williams scored 14, converting a three-point play with 8 seconds left in the second that helped give the 58-47 lead.
NOTES:@ The Heat fell to 18-18 and are at .500 for the first time since being 11-11 on Dec. 13. … Okur had four blocks in the first quarter. … Jazz made 10 of 15 field goals to close the third quarter. … Rafer Alston(notes) added 11 points for the Heat.