Michael Brandy, Deseret News
The Jazz's subs saved them Tuesday night in Sacramento.
But with the Miami Heat playing the part of a stingy Congress on Wednesday night, and some with the Jazz acting as if they were looking for handouts there would be no bench bailout this time.
The Heat held on to beat Utah 93-89 at sold-out EnergySolutions Arena, marking the 12-8 Jazz's second straight loss at home and their third in a week-and-a-half.
"They just showed a great more deal of desire to try to win the ballgame than we did," said Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, whose still injury-hampered club was playing for the second time in a stretch with four in five nights that continues Friday at home vs. Toronto.
"A tough situation for us tonight," Sloan added. "We tried to get back in the game and made a few hustle plays, but that's not enough. So, tough loss."
The Jazz playing again without hurting All-Star power forward Carlos Boozer, sixth man Andrei Kirilenko and reserve forward Matt Harpring, among others led by as many as 10 points early on, and were down by just two heading into halftime.
But the Heat, who got a game-high 23 points from Dwyane Wade despite the All-Star's migraine headache issues this week, cranked up the thermostat after the break.
Miami went up by as many as 16 points after Wade hit a 22-foot jumper to make it 63-47 with just under seven minutes left in the third quarter.
Utah did chip away, though, and with usual backup power forward Paul Millsap posting a 20-point, 13-rebound double-double, and sporadically used Morris Almond scoring another 10 points off the bench the Jazz got to within four late.
But they ultimately ran short of comeback time, in part because of frantic fourth-quarter play.
"We're getting away from what we do," small forward C.J. Miles said. "Making everything hectic."
The Jazz did have nearly 14 seconds at the end to try to make something happen, but starting point guard Deron Williams didn't get off a failed trey try until 3.9 seconds remained.
"He's still trying to get to 100 percent," guard Ronnie Brewer said of Williams, who remains hobbled by a sprained ankle sustained in the offseason and now is bothered as well by a hip flexor strain sustained Tuesday.
"So if he is going to play we're going to have to live with it, the stuff he does," Brewer added. "So far I think he's been helping our team out more than he's been hurting our team. I'm glad he's back, and hopefully he can continue to keep on recovering and getting better."
Yet Williams obviously isn't his usual self, and it showed as the Jazz shot just 35.7 percent in Wednesday's second half.
"They took us out of the game, and our execution just failed," said Sloan, who was disappointed by the Jazz's 17 turnovers, their penchant for walking the ball up the floor and their general lack of defensive energy.
"It seems to be the way things are going right now," he added.
"And I expect some of that, because we have a different group of guys playing."
The one "true bright spot" for the Jazz, Sloan said, was Millsap's 44-minute effort.
"Because he went after everything and played as hard as he could play," the Jazz coach said.
"You know, when we're shorthanded, we need that. We can't just say, 'Well, we'll get 'em next game,'" he added. "This stuff rolls by you really fast, and pretty soon you wake up and say, 'Wow, we've dug a hole for ourselves and now's the time to come out of it.' Well, it usually doesn't work that way."
All of which left Sloan hoping his club can get it together before starting yet another back-to-back set Friday vs. the Raptors, followed by a visit Saturday to Phoenix."I just think," he said, "we have to continue to work at it, see how we come back, not have too many ice-pick wars in the locker room and out in the street, and we'll be fine."
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