There was no Millsap Miracle this time. Playing in Miami for the first time since Paul Millsap scored 46 points to beat the Heat in amazing fashion, the Jazz couldn't muster any such heroics on the road Saturday night.
Instead, Miami beat the Jazz 105-89.
GUARDS: Mo Williams (5 points, 4 assists, 3 turnovers) was mediocre in the 16 minutes he played. Fortunately for Utah, Mario Chalmers (5 points, 2 assists, 2 turnovers) wasn't much better in 26. Earl Watson dished out four assists in 17 minutes but also committed two turnovers. And Jamaal Tinsley's 14 minutes resulted in eight points and 2-of-3 shooting beyond the arc, but also a 3:2 assist-to-turnover ratio.
With 1-of-9 shooting, Randy Foye's 23 minutes were too much — especially considering the work of his opponent Dwayne Wade (21 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists) in 34 minutes. Gordon Hayward (15 points on 5-of-8 shooting) was an offensive force in 26 minutes — more than Foye, and somewhat making up for him. But even he committed three turnovers, assuring that no guard who either started or played equal or more time off the bench had an ideal game. GRADE: C-.
FORWARDS: Collectively, Paul Millsap and Marvin Williams (37 points on 10-of-21 shooting, 9 rebounds, 4 turnovers) were outplayed by the duo of Shane Battier and LeBron James (45 points on 15-of-28 shooting, 12 rebounds, 8 assists). And James extended his foul-less minutes' streak to 259. The Jazz need Millsap to grab more than five rebounds in 29 minutes. GRADE: C-.
CENTERS: Al Jefferson (6 points on 2-of-8 shooting) once again made a case for his worst offensive performance of the season — rivaling a Nov. 9 blowout loss at Denver and a 20-point defeat earlier this week in Indianapolis. His 11 rebounds were two better than Udonis Haslem's nine, though Haslem was effective (3 of 6) from the field. Enes Kanter did his best to make up for Big Al's offensive woes with a perfect 2-of-2 shooting effort, but he committed two turnovers. GRADE: D+.
BENCH: This aspect of the Jazz lineup was the best Utah offered Saturday evening. It outscored the Miami bench 49-28, though they played more minutes than normal in the lopsided defeat. Hayward led the Jazz effort, while Ray Allen (13 points on 4-of-5 shooting and two 3-pointers) proved difficult to stop in 25 minutes. Derrick Favors shot just 2 of 8, and his four rebounds are less than he would normally nab in 23 minutes. But he did get to the free-throw line and certainly was more than efficient (6 of 6) there. GRADE: B-.
OVERALL: Perhaps the Jazz were thinking too much about spending the holidays with their families and loved ones. They lacked the focus necessary to beat the defending NBA champions on the road. That was manifested by 41 percent shooting and 19 turnovers, though they were 7 of 16 from distance and 22 of 26 from the charity stripe. By contrast, the Heat shot 52 percent from the field, 11 of 24 beyond the arc and 18 of 22 from the free-throw line. GRADE: C-.
Rhett Wilkinson attends Utah State University and is the co-founder and an editor of Aggie BluePrint, USU's first student magazine. A Deseret News editorial intern, he can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter: @wilklogan
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