HEAT Beat Up Jazz, Improve to 18-6
By: Steve Rawnsley
Injuries are opportunities for others to step up. The Heat did not have Chris Bosh tonight, but that was no problem. The Heat started Shane Battier tonight, and he did not disappoint. The Jazz have struggled on the road to get off to good starts, and the Heat took advantage of this. The Heat got penetration, and got open shots on their first three possessions and then got to the FT line on the fourth possession. However, the Heat couldn’t take full advantage of it, as they missed some open jumpers. Still, they got off to an 8-2 start.
On the other end Marvin Williams got in a rhythm, and kept the Jazz in the game in the first quarter, by scoring twelve points. The Jazz actually made a run of their own to go up 14-12. Mike Miller came in and the first time he touched the ball, he hit a three pointer to put the Heat back up. The Heat took the lead at the end of the first quarter thanks to LeBron James scoring or assisting on eleven of the Heats final 16 points, to put the Heat up 28-25 after the first quarter.
LeBron played a little longer in the first half due to Bosh being out, and when he went out around the 10:00 mark, Wade continued his great play. Wade scored or assisted on the next 10 points for the Heat, until LeBron came back around the five minute mark. The Jazz however, stayed in it due to their size. Millsap, Favors, and Kanter scored the next fifteen points for the Jazz. It was a slow first half, but the Heat still lead 47-43 at halftime.
Battier missed some open shots in the first quarter, but made up for it in the second half. He made back to back threes early in the half to put the Heat up twelve, and the game was never really in doubt after that. Mario Chalmers then decided to join the three point party. The Heat got the lead up to fifteen points, before Battier hit another three to put them up eighteen. After a LeBron James jumper, the Heat’s lead was twenty points with 4:49 left. The Heat though let the Jazz make a run to end the quarter with the Heat up ten. LeBron or Wade scored or
assisted on every basket by the Heat in the third quarter.
The Jazz cut it into single digits, before Battier got to the line and hit three free throws. The Heat’s second unit got it back up to sixteen points after a Ray Allen three pointer at the 7:18 mark. Jamaal Tinsley hit a three along with assisted a Gordon Hayward basket to cut the lead to eleven, and then Favors and Millsap hit free throws to cut it to eight points with 4:39 left. However, that was the closest it ever got. LeBron scored nine points over the next 2:30 to put the game away.
Miami’s key was turning up the defense again, holding an opponent under 90 points. The HEAT won the game 105-89 and improved to 18-6 on the season.
MVP: LeBron James
He seemed to have a quiet game, only to look at the box score where he had 21 points 8 boards, and 7 assists through three quarters. It almost is not fair the expectations we have for him sometimes. He finished with 30 points 9 boards and 7 assists.
Key Stat: 8-15 from downtown in the second half.
This game was close until Shane Battier and Mario Chalmers hit three of the Heat’s first three point attempts. The Heat caught fire in the second half from downtown, and the game was over after that.
The Christmas Day special at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The game starts at 5:30pm and can be seen on ABC.