MIAMI — The Utah Jazz have had some memorable moments against LeBron James over the years.
Sundiata Gaines’ amazing 3-pointer.
Paul Millsap’s Miracle in Miami.
The win in 2012 when James passed to an open Udonis Haslem for a game-winning attempt.
Even the Jazz’s victory at EnergySolutions Arena last spring when Utah went ahead by 21 points and held on for its fourth win in six games against the Heat.
There was no South Beach Shocker on Monday at American Airlines Arena.
Although the Jazz led by as many as eight points and were ahead at halftime, the Heat cranked up the thermometer in the second half and scorched Utah 117-94.
“That,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said, “was a good, professional win.”
It was also historical for Miami.
The Heat shot a franchise-best 63.4 percent from the field while improving to 18-6. Miami, down 50-47 at halftime, exploded for 70 points in the second half to turn a competitive contest into another blowout.
“The defending champs did what they do,” Jazz shooting guard Alec Burks said. “They got aggressive, made fast-break plays, and got some great stops and won the game. That’s how they win.”
Another way they win?
The Big Three did Big Three things — especially after the break.
Four-time MVP James had 30 points on 13-of-17 shooting with nine rebounds and nine assists, former MVP Dwyane Wade scored 27 and center Chris Bosh added 20 points.
The 6-21 Jazz, who've lost consecutive games against the 2013 NBA Finals teams, only had the Big One.
Burks went off for a career-high 31 points by sinking 12 of 17 field goals. The shooting guard also had seven assists and four steals in his best NBA game in three seasons.
“I was just being aggressive,” Burks said. “I feel like I saw gaps in the defense and I just wanted to be aggressive, so I just was trying to take it to the rim.”
Bigs Derrick Favors (17 points) and Enes Kanter (14) were the only other players in double figures.
Utah’s starters were outscored by their backups 56-38.
“I thought our bench held us in there in that first half,” Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. “I thought our starting group would give a us a little more pep in that third quarter and they (Heat) just came out and took over the game.”
It was clear to see that Miami was much more focused coming out of the locker room in the second half than the Jazz.
“This is a good ballclub. They know what and who they are and how to play in different situations,” Corbin said. “If a guy’s going, they go to him and if we make any mistake they make you pay for it, and we made too many mistakes in the second half.”
Utah began the third quarter with 3-point misses by Gordon Hayward and Trey Burke, both of whom struggled all night.
Miami opened with back-to-back dunks from James and Bosh.
Timeout, Utah. Only 60 seconds into the second half.
“I didn’t like what I was seeing there,” Corbin said, citing a lack of energy by his starters. “I just wanted to get their attention and see if we could get them going.”
That quick timeout didn’t work. The Heat opened the quarter with a game-changing 10-1 run.
Subbing Burks, Diante Garrett and Brandon Rush for Burke, Hayward and Jefferson three minutes later didn’t work, either. The Heat, despite James sitting for a while with an ankle injury, turned a three-point deficit into a 12-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
“They had the lead,” Wade said, “so we wanted to come back and impose our will, and I thought were able to do that.”
The Jazz made a brief surge early in the final period, but the visitors yet again found themselves trailing by more than 20 points by the end of the game.
Heat will, imposed.
It was Miami’s franchise-record 17th straight win over Western Conference opponents, dating back to the Jazz’s 104-97 win over the Heat on Jan. 14.
“We didn’t match their intensity in the second half. Give them credit. They’re a really good ballclub,” Corbin said. “They know what it takes to get themselves out of a hole and get a gap, and we just didn’t respond to the pressure they put on us in the second half.”
The Jazz practice in Miami on Tuesday before heading to Orlando to continue their five-game pre-Christmas swing in Orlando on Wednesday.
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