(Photo Credit: Issac Baldizon)
The Miami HEAT dominated the Utah Jazz 117-94 Monday night at AmericanAirlines Arena. The HEAT bounced back from a three point halftime deficit to take control of the game. With the win the HEAT improved to 18-6 on the season.
Impact Performance of the Night: For the second straight game Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade dominated an opponent. All three scored 20 or more points, with most of the shots coming at the rim. Bosh was aggressive off the bounce, taking his defender to the rim. Wade was dominant in the post in possession after possession in the second half, wearing down the Jazz defense. LeBron James was brilliant, leading the team with 30 points, many coming on ferocious dunks, and nine assists. He took what the defense gave him all night, finding the highest percentage shot. The three HEAT stars combined for 77 points, 20 rebounds and 13 assists. It was another in a long line of impact performances.
The Deciding Run: The Utah Jazz outplayed the HEAT in the second quarter, outscoring them 30-21 to take a three point lead into the half. In the third quarter, though, the HEAT took over. Miami exploded out of the gates on a 16-3 run to take a 63-53 lead. The Jazz were never able to recover. Of the HEAT’s 16 points during the run, all but five came at the rim or on an and-1 opportunity. Miami attacked the rim with force, blowing the Jazz away in the process.
Play of the Game: It’s hard for the HEAT to do things that we haven’t seen before. Over the past four seasons they’ve just about done it all. But in the first quarter we may have witnessed something new. Mario Chalmers had a fastbreak layup roll off the rim in the first quarter. LeBron James was trailing the play and managed to grab the rebound and finish it with a reverse slam in one motion. It doesn’t get much more spectacular than that.
Efficiency Rating: Offensive Efficiency: 128.0; Defensive Efficiency: 98.4
Trend to Watch: The HEAT’s starting lineup of Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Shane Battier and Chris Bosh was dominant against the Utah Jazz. In the group’s 12 minutes of action they outscored the Jazz by 19 points. Both the offense and the defense were great. The lineup had an offensive efficiency of 145.7 (points per 100 possessions) and a defensive efficiency of 76.7 (points allowed per 100 possession). This was the lineups second great performance in a row after they played great against the Cavaliers. This lineup has been excellent for the HEAT since the 2012 postseason. It offers all kinds of space for Wade and James to attack. After struggling through a small slump early in the month, the lineup has returned to form. When the HEAT’s starting unit can build big leads on opponents, it makes everything easier. It was this group that helped the HEAT sprint out to a big lead in the third quarter against the Jazz. It will be this group that helps the HEAT win big games for the rest of the season. It’s incredibly potent on offense and stingy on defense. Having this lineup get revved up before Wednesday’s showdown against the Pacers is a positive to take from this game.
The Takeaway: Coach Erik Spoelstra called this a “professional win,” and it’d be impossible to argue with that summation. The Jazz played very well early on, beating the HEAT up on the glass for certain stretches. But once the HEAT got their bearings against a young, feisty opponent, they were able to make their move. We saw the HEAT attack the rim relentlessly in the second half and the Jazz had no answer. While they got to the rim at the offensive end, the HEAT kept the Jazz off the board by forcing a number of turnovers that led directly to runouts. Both HEAT point guards continued their recent run of strong play, combining for 25 points and 12 assists. When they provide that offensive spark, the HEAT’s offense is tough to slow down. With the Pacers coming to town on Wednesday night this was about all the HEAT could ask for. It was a dominating performance that saw all main contributors play well.
Notes: LeBron James finished with 30 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. Dwyane Wade scored 27 points and grabbed five rebounds. Chris Bosh added 20 points and six rebounds. Greg Oden and Michael Beasley were inactive.