Thursday, April 24, 2014

Utah Jazz report card: Jazz stun Miami Heat in 94-89 nail-biter (6 items)

By Bobby Macey
For the Deseret News

Feb. 9, 2014

The Utah Jazz stunned the Miami Heat Saturday night in Salt Lake City with a 94-89 win. The Jazz franchise now has an all-time record of 32-22 against the Heat.

After a quick-paced first quarter where Jazz forward Marvin Williams scored 12 of his 23 points, the Jazz played with confidence to keep the Heat on their toes throughout the game.

Miami stormed back in the second quarter with some great transition plays and an intense defensive effort. But forwards Alec Burks and Gordon Hayward kept the Jazz going with their mid-range game. Both players hit several jump shots to give the Jazz a 52-50 lead to end the first half.

Despite some reckless turnovers during the third quarter, the Jazz frustrated the Heat on the defensive end and held them to a low shooting percentage. The third quarter came to a close and the Jazz held strong with a two-point lead, 68-66. The Jazz are 14-2 this season when they have the lead after the third quarter.

It’s games like these that make Jazz fans bleed navy blue. The fourth quarter was one of the most exciting of any Jazz game this season. Williams and Trey Burke both hit timely shots with the clock winding down — the type of shots that got hearts pumping in EnergySolutions Arena and gave the building a healthy reminder of what kind of decibel level the walls can handle.

Burke ended the game with 13 points and three assists. “The coaches trusted me," he said after the game. "The players trusted me. I felt like some of the shots that I usually make weren’t falling tonight and haven’t been falling the past couple of games. But they continue to come to me and tell me to play, play with confidence. Don’t think about it, just play freely. That’s what I did tonight!”

Here's a report card for Saturday’s win over the Miami Heat.

Bobby Macey is the marketing manager for ok.com and covers the Utah Jazz for DeseretNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @Bobmacey.

1 of 6. Guards:

The crowning moment goes to rookie Trey Burke for pushing through a tough shooting game and coming up big when it counted. If he keeps taking the team on his shoulders like he did Saturday night, he might get a new nickname, Mr. Clutch. Grade: A

2 of 6. Forwards:

Marvin Williams has scored 20-plus points in the last three Jazz games. Saturday night he looked like he was fresh out of North Carolina hitting 3-pointers. He also hit a 3-pointer to beat the shot clock for the second-most-important bucket of the game, only behind Trey Burke’s clutch jump shot. Gordon Hayward showed up big in other ways for the Jazz and added 11 assists and nine rebounds. Grade: A

3 of 6. Centers:

Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and Jeremy Evans all stepped up to the plate during Saturday’s game. Kanter scored points in the paint during slow stretches when the team was in dire need of a bucket. Favors pulled down four offensive rebounds to keep possessions alive and added three more on the defensive end to disrupt the Heat from getting second chances. Evans enjoyed his minutes and even showed Jazz fans his continued range as a jump shooter. Grade: A-

4 of 6. Coaches:

Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin spent a lot of time on his feet working the angles with referees during Saturday’s game. Corbin barked at the officials on several occasions but kept his composure just enough to avoid any technical fouls. Corbin called for the right players at the right moments and helped the team execute well down the stretch. Surprisingly enough, Corbin actually looked confident that his boys would pull off the win even in the final nail-biting moments down the stretch. Ultimately, it turned out to be one of the best coaching nights I’ve seen this season from Corbin and his staff. Grade: A

5 of 6. Officiating:

I have to give it to the referees for not prolonging this game in favor of the Heat. Despite a few missed calls here and there, which is normal, the officials called a mostly fair game down the stretch, allowing the Jazz to stay in the game mentally and maintain the momentum they worked so hard to get. LeBron James did have what seemed to be a generous call in his favor with less than two minutes to play that put him on the line. When he missed the last free throw, some Jazz fans must have been thinking, “the ball never lies.” Grade: B+