I knew every shot he was going to take, and I knew he was going to take it and I don’t know, somehow I still fell for it. —Donovan Mitchell
SALT LAKE CITY — As the final seconds ticked off the clock, Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters held his head high.
He was in good spirits while slapping hands with teammates near the sideline at Vivint Arena.
Why wouldn’t he be?
After sealing a second straight road victory with 12 fourth-quarter points in Utah, he had a lot to celebrate.
Waiters struggled with nine points on 3-for-15 shooting with three turnovers through three quarters, then finished 4-for-5 in the fourth — ripping the hearts out of Utah Jazz fans to hand them their fourth straight loss, 84-74.
“Like I said last year, I’ll say it again, I’d rather go 0-for-30 than go 0-for-9 because if you stop shooting that means you lost confidence,” Waiters said. “So that’s my mindset right there, is just sticking with that, you can’t ever lose confidence no matter what the situation is."
In the final three minutes, Waiters posted 10 points to help Miami end the game on a 13-0 run while being matched up against Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell in the clutch.
A one-dribble pull-up 3 proved to be the dagger with a minute left.
“I knew every shot he was going to take, and I knew he was going to take it and I don’t know, somehow I still fell for it,” Mitchell said of Waiters. “I blame those last eight points on myself. Without those eight points, we win that game and I take full responsibility for that.”
In an attempt to ignite the team, Snyder changed the starting lineup with Mitchell starting in place of Rodney Hood.
Mitchell would end with 12 points, while Hood responded with 19 points on 5-for-19 shooting in 34 minutes.
“Tonight is so little about a lineup change, to be honest,” said Jazz coach Quin Snyder. “Both of them came out of the gate and played really well.“
“I just want to go out there and play with energy, play with hustle and I think we did that tonight,” Mitchell added. “I’m glad we came out there and played as hard as we did, especially coming off a 3-game losing streak.”
Utah entered halftime with a 49-37 lead, after shooting 51.2 percent from the field and holding Miami to 31.7 percent while forcing nine turnovers. But the third quarter was atrocious offensively for the Jazz as they shot a season-low 5.6 percent.
Utah has become notorious for starting halves slow and continued the trend as Miami jumped to an 11-0 run to start the third.
“We were just struggling,” Snyder said. “Everyone was struggling. Usually maybe one guy has a moment where he steps up and we didn’t have that tonight during that time and obviously we needed it.”
Gobert suffered a right knee contusion after taking a shot to his lower body by Waiters, as he dove for the ball, but did return for the fourth. He finished with 12 points, 12 board and two blocks for his eighth double-double of the season.
“It feels better than it looked on the video,” Gobert said, smirking. “I think it was a dirty play, but no matter what the most important thing is to keep getting better and to win tomorrow.”
Heat guard Goran Dragic ended with 18 points and three assists.
Alec Burks entered the game with 12 points in 22 minutes off the bench to go with a season-high five rebounds. Derrick Favors posted a season-high two blocks with six points and Ricky Rubio shot 0-for-5 with four points and five turnovers.
The Jazz made four second-half field goals.
Utah (5-7) will host the Brooklyn Nets (5-7) on the second night of a back-to-back at 7 p.m. Saturday. As tough as things are, Snyder still sees positives.
“Whether it’s confidence, continuity, or connectivity or whatever the case is we just have to grind through it,” Snyder said. “There isn’t a magic bullet right now that we’re going to figure out. We’ll just have to address the things we can.”