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Utah Jazz: No miracle win in Miami this time for the victimized visitors

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 2 2015 5:06 a.m. MDT

Utah Jazz's Earl Watson (11) pressures Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Miami, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. The Heat won 105-89. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz) (Alan Diaz, AP) Utah Jazz's Earl Watson (11) pressures Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Miami, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. The Heat won 105-89. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz) (Alan Diaz, AP)

MIAMI — This time, there wasn't a Sundiata Gaines stunner.

There was no Millsap Miracle. Nary a game-winning Devin Harris play, either.

For that matter, the Utah Jazz didn't even have their starting point guard to help save the day in the decisive second half.

Instead of being the spoilers against LeBron James & Co. on this Saturday night, the Jazz were relegated to playing the role of being the Heat's latest blowout victim.

Following up Wednesday's no-show in Indiana, the Jazz were smacked around 105-89 by Miami at American Airlines Arena.

As such, the vibe in Utah's locker room was about as somber after this setback as it was jazzed up two years ago after the Paul Millsap-led wild comeback win.

Miami Heat's LeBron James (6) is fouled by Utah Jazz's Randy Foye, right, and Jamaal Tinsley, left, defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Miami, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. The Heat won 105-89. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz) (Alan Diaz, AP) Miami Heat's LeBron James (6) is fouled by Utah Jazz's Randy Foye, right, and Jamaal Tinsley, left, defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Miami, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. The Heat won 105-89. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz) (Alan Diaz, AP)

No Jazz players jumped up on the scorers' table. No teammates teasingly referring to Millsap as "Miss Bettye's son." Glum looks and soft-spoken answers replaced rowdy celebrations and smiles.

James, who's been foiled by Utah more times than he'd prefer to remember, prevented the Jazz from being in a chipper mood by flirting with a triple-double of 30 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.

And it wasn't just the self-proclaimed King who did the Jazz in. Shane Battier hit a pair of big 3-pointers to help Miami open the second half with an 8-0 run while Williams was in the training room with a sprained right thumb.

"That's what good teams do … (and) that's a pretty good team out there. Give them credit," Millsap said. "We came out in the first half with a great energy. We matched their intensity in the first half. The second half, we just didn't have it."

Again.

Continuing a recent downward slide, the Jazz failed to find an offensive flow, shooting just 41.3 percent and scoring in the 80s for the fourth time in the past five games. Even their one win in that stretch was only a low-scoring 92-90 squeaker over Brooklyn.

Hounded by the Heat's defensive scheme — fronting and double-teaming — center Al Jefferson had a quiet offensive night with just six points on 2-for-8 shooting.

Marvin Williams led the Jazz with 16 points, including a 12-point outburst in the first quarter to keep Utah in it. He only played 27 minute despite having the hot hand.

Gordon Hayward busted out of his recent slump with 15 points off the bench, while Millsap (11 points) and Derrick Favors (10 points) were the only other Jazz players in double figures.

The combination of the Heat playing like the defending NBA champions and the Jazz looking lost without their injured playmaker proved too much to overcome.

"It hurt us. It took our pace. It took our speed down a little bit," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said of Mo Williams' absence. "He's one of our key guys. We need all of our pieces against a team like this on the road. I thought we hung there in the first half pretty good, and we came out in that third quarter and we were just flat."

Backup point guard Earl Watson filled in for Williams to begin the second half with the Jazz trailing 47-43.

James set the tone with a jumper on Miami's first possession of the third quarter, and Battier added back-to-back 3-pointers. The Jazz, who found themselves trailing by 12 points only 88 seconds into the third, called a timeout. But that only delayed the onslaught, and the Heat surged ahead by as many as 20 points in the quarter.

Jamaal Tinsley, Marvin Williams and Hayward sparked a Jazz comeback, and Utah pulled within seven points early in the fourth. The visitors could never get closer than eight after that, though, and their 20 team turnovers and erratic play prevented another heroic comeback win.

"They just came out at halftime and made their run," Jefferson said. "We had a fighting chance in the fourth quarter and things just didn't go our way."

A big reason for that, of course, is because of the up-close-and-personal experience they had with the Heat's versatility. Miami shot 52.1 percent, hit 11 of 24 3-pointers, received 21 points, seven rebounds and seven assists from Dwyane Wade, and minimized the Jazz's size advantage on a night Chris Bosh didn’t play because of the flu.

"When they're hitting shots, it is frustrating because they are pretty tough to stop one-on-one," Hayward said. "So when you get help and they drive and kick and they are being unselfish and making the extra pass, they are a good team."

The Jazz continue their four-game pre-Christmas trip with a final stop in Orlando today (4 p.m., MST). A win could salvage this rough journey for Utah, which fell to 14-14 and 5-12 on the road.

"We always have pressure on us to get a win. Every night," Corbin said. "We have another game (Sunday). We're going in expecting to win."

"We have one more (Sunday) and it would be the second road trip that we can finish off 2-2," Jefferson added. "It's not the end of it."

NOTES: Williams' status for tonight's game seems doubtful. Corbin wouldn’t say whether Tinsley or Watson will start if he can't go. … The Jazz bench outscored the starters 49-40. … James was not whistled for a personal foul, increasing his streak of penalty-free play to 250 minutes (six-and-a-half games). He did get slapped with a technical foul, though. … The Heat improved to 18-6, tying a franchise record, with their fourth win in a row.

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