Butler, Dragic carry Heat past NBA-best Jazz, 124-116
MIAMI – The Miami Heat don’t believe in statement wins.
This might have been one anyway.
Jimmy Butler scored a season-high 33 points, reserve Goran Dragic tied his season-best with 26 and the Heat beat Utah 124-116 on Friday night — handing the NBA-leading Jazz (26-7) just their third loss in their last 25 games.
“A high-level game,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said, “and we had some big plays down the stretch.”
Bam Adebayo scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Miami, which has won a season-best five straight games. Duncan Robinson scored 15 and Kendrick Nunn added 12 for the Heat, who held Utah to 29% shooting in the fourth quarter.
“I don’t want to say that we’re good yet,” Butler said. “I think we’ve got so much more to figure out. We’ve got so much more that we can be better at. Myself, anybody, I don’t want us to get complacent and think that we’re cool, we’re good. Nah, that’s not the case. We’ve got a long way to go.”
Donovan Mitchell scored 30 for the Jazz, but missed eight of his final nine shots. Utah got got 17 from Bojan Bogdanovic, 15 from Rudy Gobert and 14 from Mike Conley.
“Tonight, we ran up on a team that really just out-executed us down the stretch,” Conley said. “They made plays when it mattered most.”
Jordan Clarkson and Joe Ingles scored 13 apiece for the Jazz, who were outrebounded by a 50-36 count — the second-largest differential any team has had against Utah this season — and shot 15-for-46 from 3-point range.
“Tonight, we just tried to take away their easy shots,” Dragic said. “And we did.”
There were 14 lead changes and 10 ties, the last of those coming when Clarkson made a 3-pointer with 8:20 left to knot the game at 103-103.
Dragic sparked an 11-4 Heat run that put Miami ahead for good, capping that flurry by finding Andre Iguodala for an open 3-pointer, then making another himself on the next Heat possession for a 114-107 lead.
Bogdanovic’s 3-pointer with 3:39 left started the last Jazz gasp, Conley got a layup on the next Utah possession and Gobert made two free throws on the next. Just like that, the Jazz were within 116-115.
But they got no closer, with Dragic taking a charge to erase what would have been a basket by Conley with 1:58 left. The Jazz wound up missing their last seven shots and were 3-for-16 from the floor in the final eight minutes.
“We just made a lot of mistakes, had too many breakdowns on both ends,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said.
Miami led 96-94 lead after three quarters — the prerequisite for beating the Jazz this season. Utah came into Friday 24-0 when leading after three quarters, 2-6 when trailing.
They’re 2-7 now.
“There were a lot of things that we can do better,” Snyder said.
Jazz: Derrick Favors played in his 607th career regular-season game with Utah, breaking a tie with Rickey Green for ninth on the team’s all-time list. Next up: Bryon Russell, 628. … Gobert had a free throw 1:53 into the game for his 6,000th career point.
Heat: Adebayo was listed as questionable coming into the game because of a knee issue. … Tyler Herro (bruised hip) missed his third straight game with that injury and 11th missed game this season overall. … It was the sixth game in Heat history in which both teams had at least 94 points through three quarters. Three of those have come since Feb. 26, 2020.
The teams were a combined 14 for 14 from the foul line in the first half. It was the second time the Jazz had been part of a game in which both teams shot 100% from the line in the opening 24 minutes this season, and the first such game for the Heat since a “home” game in the bubble last season against Toronto.
Utah has more 3-pointers through 33 games, 559, than any other NBA team has ever made through not just 33 games — but even 35 games. Houston had 554 3’s made through the first 35 games of the 2017-18 season. The previous 33-game mark was 522, by those 2017-18 Rockets.