Utah didn’t have to wait long for a chance at avenging a loss to Miami. A week after losing to the Heat during a rough weekend in Florida, the Jazz will host them in a Saturday afternoon showdown in Salt Lake City.
Both teams come into this earlier-than-usual tipoff (3 p.m. Mountain Time) in hopes of getting back on track. The Heat have lost three in a row since beating Utah, and four of five, while the Jazz have dropped three of four games.
Miami most recently lost to the Lakers and Clippers on consecutive nights in Los Angeles after beginning a five-game Western trip with a defeat in Denver. Kyle Lowry, trying to get back into a groove after an ankle injury, was a bright spot in Miami’s 112-109 loss to the Clippers on Thursday with 25 points.
“I like that Kyle. I like that type of Kyle. I like that aggressive Kyle,” said Bam Adebayo, who led Miami with 30 points. “I like the way he got to his spots. I feed off that.”
Lowry scored 22 points in the fourth quarter as the Heat gave themselves a chance to win.
“I was trying to just find a way to get a win,” Lowry said. “I had an opportunity; I attacked a lot more. And just trying to be a little bit more assertive on my team, but it doesn’t matter because we still lost the game.”
Lowry had a triple-double of 20 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in the Heat’s 118-115 win over Utah a week ago. The Jazz nearly spoiled that outing for him, storming back from 19 points down with five minutes remaining to have a chance in the final seconds.
Donovan Mitchell scored 37 points for the Jazz, who lost the next day in Orlando. Miami escaped with the victory when he missed a 3-pointer that would have tied the game with 8.9 seconds remaining. Mitchell scored eight points in the final minutes of the fourth quarter to spark Utah’s surge.
“The biggest thing is we were able to do it when it counted,” Mitchell said of the comeback attempt. “Now we have to do it for 48 minutes.”
Jazz coach Quin Snyder considered the loss a learning experience against a solid squad, which shot a blistering 60.3 percent from the field, including 11 of 21 from 3-point range.
“They executed well and made a lot of shots and they do that because they have a good team and a great coach,” Snyder said. “For us, these types of games you hopefully learn about yourself and how to play, and how to play against a certain style.”
The Jazz and Heat have made headlines this week for the wrong reasons. Miami center Markieff Morris exchanged hard body blows with Denver’s Nikola Jokic on Monday, and Utah’s Rudy Gobert got into a tussle with Indiana’s Myles Turner in Thursday’s 111-100 loss.
“That whole thing could have been avoided,” said Mitchell, putting some blame on referees. “Just draw the line early, as opposed to letting it build up for the whole game.”
Morris, who received a $50,000 fine for his part in the melee, missed Miami’s ensuing two games in L.A. due to whiplash from Jokic’s hit.
–Field Level Media