Utah Jazz: Millsap, Harris good to go tonight vs. Heat
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News archives
SALT LAKE CITY — LeBron James and Dwyane Wade will be in town tonight for the Miami Heat's only game against the Utah Jazz this season.
That's the bad news for the Jazz, who tip off against the red-hot Heat at 7 p.m. MT (ROOT Sports).
The good news is that they'll get two starters back on the court for one of their marquee home games of this compressed season.
Paul Millsap sat out Wednesday's game against the Houston Rockets with a severely bruised left heel, but the hard-nosed power forward is not about to be sidelined for two consecutive games.
Forget the official game-time-decision listing. Millsap admitted his foot is still tender, but he said he's good to go against Miami.
"I'm feeling good," Millsap said after this morning's shootaround. "I feel like I can get out there and compete, so I'm going to give it a try."
Point guard Devin Harris also returned to the team and went through this morning's prep session after sitting out the final 15 minutes of Wednesday's 104-83 win over Houston due to nausea.
The Jazz will be without starting shooting guard Raja Bell for the fifth game in a row because of his strained left adductor, and backup point guard Jamaal Tinsley (stomach flu) will be a game-time decision.
The Heat, meanwhile, will be without big man Chris Bosh for personal reasons.
Even so, Miami brings a nine-game winning streak into Utah, including a late-night win at Portland on Thursday.
Millsap said the team is well aware of the up-and-down game Wade and James like to play, and he called the Heat one of the fastest squads in the NBA on both ends of the court.
"We've got to be secure with the basketball," Millsap said.
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said Gordon Hayward will begin against Wade and Josh Howard will start on James, but Utah (16-18) needs a team effort to have a chance against Miami (28-7).
At least the home team comes into this one with a little bit of momentum, having snapped a four-game losing streak against the Rockets on Wednesday.
"We played a pretty good ballgame for the most part (against Houston). We've got to take it up another level because these guys are, if not the best team in the league, certainly one of the best teams in the league," Corbin said. "It's built to win a championship this year. They're going to be tough. It's on our home floor and we're going to be ready to play against them."
Hayward said the Jazz need to be "aggressive defensively." When it comes to guarding the freakishly athletic 6-foot-8, 250-pound James, which Hayward will likely do at times, the 6-8, 210-pound Hayward said Jazz players need to "get in his way, make him do things that he doesn't want to do and get him a little frustrated."
Hayward also emphasized the importance of limiting turnovers and not taking poor shots, which lead to fast breaks for the Heat.
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