The Utah Jazz beat the Miami Heat 112-94 on the second night of a back-to-back at Vivint Arena on Saturday for their seventh consecutive victory.
Bojan Bogdanovic deserves a ton of credit for getting the Jazz going with an interior game. The Jazz were totally unable to get anything going from the 3-point line in the first half, but a lot of the penetrations and attacking action from Bogdanovic gave them relief early on. He had 13 of his 19 points in the first half and all 13 came from inside or at the free throw line.
Then it was Donovan Mitchell who came out in the third quarter, guns blazing. He scored seven straight points in the first 90 seconds of the second half, sparking a 16-0 run that gave the Jazz a 21-point lead. Mitchell finished with a game-high 26 points.
I could write about the defensive awareness and activity from Rudy Gobert and Royce O’Neale every night and it still probably wouldn’t be enough recognition. They were the main catalyst for the Jazz having a 31-15 third quarter over the Heat. They were just incredible all game.
“All-defensive team, that’s where he should be at the end of the season...Every single night he has a challenge, whether he’s guarding a power forward — somebody like Giannis [Antetokounmpo] — or guarding a talented guard, he’s most of the time guarding the best player, the best scoring player. He’s bringing it every single night and is a big part of what we do.” — Rudy Gobert on Royce O’Neale
Georges Niang finished the game with a season-high tying 14 points to go with five assists and three rebounds. He was doing a little bit of everything — throwing lobs to Gobert, hitting threes, rebounding hard, playing good defense. Again, another well-rounded night.
There’s a lot to be said about the way the Jazz have reacted to being down early this season and coming back with more of a punch than we have seen in recent years, and especially in games when they shouldn’t have their legs or just plain don’t have them at all. On the second night of a back-to-back and with their shooting not there, they really dominated the Heat in all the ways they needed to. That’s a really general statement but it’s something that should be noted as an overall change in disposition for this Jazz team compared to others.
“We really try to enjoy the process, enjoy ourselves, but there is nothing easy. If anything, it’s harder when the every team is trying to come in and make a statement by beating you. We know that every night is a challenge, and that’s the way we approach every single game.” — Rudy Gobert
The Jazz went 3-of-21 from deep in the first half and finished just 12-of-46 (26.1%). The good thing is that the Jazz are so dynamic and so good defensively that even on a bad shooting night they’re able to dominate a game, but there was little more to their missed shots than just being off.
The Jazz still were able to get off 46 3-point attempts but there was just a little too much indecision on the shots that they did get. The quick passing and scrambling of the defense wasn’t something that we saw a lot of against the Heat. Some of that is a credit to the Heat and their reaction and rotations on the defensive side, but the Jazz were just a little slow and hesitant, too.
“When you do have a tough night, that’s when it becomes more important to defend, which is always important, but just more impactful.” — Jazz head coach Quin Snyder
Jimmy Butler has taken 20 total 3-pointers this season (two on Saturday) and made three (one on Saturday). He’s not the kind of player that has to take 3s to make a real impact but there is just something not right about him this season. Granted he’s dealt with being in and out this year, but he’s just off. Miami, coming off a Finals appearance, needs so much more out of him if they’re going to get a playoff spot, much less make some noise once they’re there.