MIAMI — The Jazz blew an eight-point lead in the final four minutes of the fourth quarter, including a seven-point advantage with just 56 seconds to go in regulation.
They blew an eight-point lead, as well, in the final three minutes of overtime No. 1.
They got a game-tying jumper from point guard Deron Williams with 3.4 seconds to go in overtime No. 2 to force a third five-minute extra session, then promptly were outscored 15-4 in OT No. 3.
No wonder Williams felt ready to author a manual after Miami, boosted by 50 points in 52 minutes from star guard Dwyane Wade, beat Utah 140-129 in triple-overtime Saturday at AmericanAirlines Arena.
"We did a how-to on how-to lose a basketball game, pretty much," Williams said after the 41-25 Jazz fell to 2-2 with consecutive losses on a five-game road trip that ends tonight at Orlando.
"You know — fouling when we don't need to, trying to score when we definitely don't need to instead of using our clock. It just wasn't very smart. It should have never went into overtime in the first place."
Utah was up 107-102 with 50.1 seconds left in the game and 19 seconds remaining on the shot clock when forward Andrei Kirilenko drove to the basket, but — before he could either shoot or pass to teammate Kyle Korver — was called for charging into the Heat's Jamario Moon.
Miami's Udonis Haslem dunked on the other end to make a three-point game, and the Jazz promptly responded by this time by trying to score with 35.4 seconds left in the game and 15.5 on the 24-second clock.
Jermaine O'Neal blocked forward Paul Millsap's dunk attempt, which combined with Kirilenko's gaffe made Jazz coach Jerry Sloan madder than anything that happened after that.
"They were the ones that should have been desperate, but we were desperate get points," Sloan said. "I was surprised that two times we did that. ... You know, you've got to bring the basketball out and make them foul you. We just gave it to 'em."
Jazz players readily concurred.
"I don't know what we were thinking about," Williams said.
"If we would have held the ball on those last two plays," teammate Carlos Boozer added, "we probably would have won the game."
Asked if the Jazz were too anxious to put the Heat away rather than simply milk the clock, Sloan shrugged and suggested there's no other plausible explanation.
"That's not what we teach them to do — take the ball and run over somebody," he said.
"You've got to come back out and get it in the hands of people so we can run time off the clock. If they're desperate, then they'll foul you. But we played right into their hands."
Kirilenko fouled out with 3.9 seconds left in the regulation as he knocked James Jones to the floor, sending Jones to the free-throw line.
That prompted the first OT, and ultimately gave Kirilenko 15 more minutes' worth of game to ponder the two blunders.
"It (the charge) wasn't probably the smart play — I shouldn't be driving all the way; probably I should have stopped," he said, suggesting he didn't agree with the foul.
As for contact with Jones, Kirilenko said, "Well, again, we can agree and disagree on the call. I think Jones just stepped on somebody's foot and just fell down. ... He should probably get a (requested) timeout rather than get fouled."
The final few minutes of the first overtime offered even more follies for the Jazz, as they watched a 115-107 lead evaporate behind a Wade-fed basket from O'Neal, a drilled jumper and a driving layup from Wade, and, with 22.1 seconds remaining, two Haslem free throws that followed Heat rookie point Mario Chalmers' strip from Williams.
"We just were careless with the ball," said Williams, who was tagged with five of Utah's 21 total turnovers. "I had a couple in overtime that definitely cost us a chance to win. But we never should have been in that position."
Williams, who finished with a Jazz-high 30 points and a game-high 13 assists for his team-leading 31st double-double of the season, atoned in the second overtime by nailing a 21-footer and forcing the third OT.
But the final five minutes was all Miami, as the Heat opened with a couple of free throws from 28-point scorer O'Neal and finished with two apiece from Wade and Chalmers.
"We were right there with them," Williams said. "They just came out in that third overtime and took control, and we just couldn't find it."
Perhaps that's because they still were searching for clues to how it unraveled.
Not that those were hard to find.
"We should have eat the clock more," said Jazz center Mehmet Okur, who logged a game-high 54 minutes.
"Miami was a little more focused at the end and they used the clock wisely, rather than us," Kirilenko added. "Miami deserved the win because they used their time wisely and at the end of every overtime they kind of sticked with their play. We kind of rushed and didn't play how we wanted to play."
Clearly, clock management in what was only the second three-OT game in Jazz history stuck out like Big Ben in Utah's postgame locker room.97 comments on this story
"They used the clock well. There wasn't any problem with that," Sloan said of the Heat, who have won three straight and 10 of their last 11 over the Jazz, including six in a row in Miami.
"They didn't come down and just take fliers, run over anybody. They made us defend them. And of course they've got their great player (Wade) that can get to the free-throw line.
"But we don't have that," Sloan added. "We have to try to execute and help somebody get good shots. When you go out there and do it yourself in those situations, (a loss like Saturday's) is what comes out."