MIAMI — The Utah Jazz made a fourth quarter push, but the Miami Heat held on, handing the Jazz their second loss of the season in a 118-115 game that came down to the wire on Saturday night at FTX Arena.
- Royce O’Neale had his best game of the season and was a bright spot for the Jazz on a night when they were desperate for extra scoring and some defensive pressure. He started out the game aggressive and was making sneaky passes on a string, taking advantage of open driving lanes, getting to the free-throw line and shooting from the outside without some of the usual hesitation that he shows. He was brilliant defensively and also kept possessions alive with extra effort rebounding. He finished the night with 15 points in his first double-digit scoring outing of the season and added six steals and five rebounds. A shame that his night was spoiled by the loss.
“Thats what I train for in the offseason. I am going to do whatever I have to do for us to win offensively and defensively. Guarding the best player, knocking down shots, and just try not to be tired and play the whole game if I can.” —Royce O’Neale
- Donovan Mitchell had another pretty exceptional night and I could spend a lot of time talking about his decision-making and big plays at timely spots in the game, but there’s something else I want to point out. Mitchell missed Jimmy Butler on a slip to the basket, a defensive mistake that led to Hassan Whiteside being out of position to contest the shot and Whiteside fouled Butler. Immediately after the play, Mitchell pointed to himself and said “my bad” and went to Whiteside and apologized. Conversely, the first time that Dewayne Dedmon made a defensive mistake, Butler looked at him with contempt and barked at him. Having covered Butler when he was in Philadelphia, I know that his personality and the way that he interacts with teammates can grate. Now, I know that the Jazz are the team that lost, but I think in the long run, taking personal responsibility and trying to lift up teammates will benefit a team more than bringing them down when it’s not necessary. That doesn’t mean there’s never a time for it, but it was the first quarter when these things happened. That wasn’t the time. I guess the point to this whole rant is that it was a sign of maturity and a high-character moment from Mitchell.
- I think that it’s early enough in the season for moral victories. The Heat’s late third quarter and early fourth quarter run made it look like the Jazz were toast, but the Jazz did not pack it in. They made a late fourth quarter push and had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds when Mitchell missed a shot that would have sent the game into overtime. There was a lot of really good defensive stuff in those final minutes that the Jazz will be able to look at and use moving forward.
- The Heat are a very, very good team.
- The Jazz waited too long to start going over on screens against Tyler Herro. The guy is never afraid to take a shot, and he makes a lot of them and the Jazz allowed him to get hot. Feeding the hot hand was an inevitable move that the Heat were going to make. Herro had 10 points in the first half and was able to get off a couple of easy looks with little resistance. Then he went off for 19 more points in the second half, including going 4 of 5 from 3.
- The Jazz got very little from Joe Ingles on either side of the ball, and where it really hurt was in transition. Sometimes when Ingles isn’t scoring, the Jazz can live with it because of what he’s providing on the other end, and it’s expected of him. But when he disappears on defense, he really disappears.
- With 3.8 seconds on the clock in the second quarter, Mitchell got the ball off the inbound and just didn’t really do anything with it. I can understand not throwing up a heave with something like 1.2 seconds left, but he had nearly four seconds, which is a long time in basketball, and if he had wanted to, he could have pushed the ball up and gotten off a pretty good look from 3 to end the first half. He should have.
- The Jazz allowed just way too many easy transition buckets and the kind that really just come down to effort. The Heat were passing the ball over the top of the Jazz to an open man down the floor, and it happened over and over again. Had the Jazz not allowed those kind of plays, they might have walked away with a win.
“We were back, but not back quite enough. Those plays are tough to overcome when you are giving up in transition. Those are deflating plays.” —Jazz head coach Quin Snyder.