Utah Jazz are feeling the Heat in Miami
NBA • Utah has won two of its past three games against Heat.
Published: December 21, 2012 11:39PM
Updated: April 8, 2013 11:33PM
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Forward LeBron James (6) and the Miami Heat have won 27 straight games are just six wins away from tying the NBA's all-time winning streak of 33 games, set by the L.A. Lakers in 1972. (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)

Miami • The Heat were in Dallas, but Tyrone Corbin was in his Miami hotel room, watching TV as a frightening scene unfolded.

Led by a deferential Dwyane Wade and a dominant LeBron James, the Heat torched the Mavericks in an eventual 105-90 win in which the superstars didn’t even play the final quarter.

Mr. Corbin, this is what it looks like to play the defending champs.

On one play in the first quarter, Wade rebounded a missed shot and threw a pass the length of the court that James, somehow, was in position to snatch from the air — despite being guarded by two players — and lay in for a basket.

“Those kind of plays are just heartbreaking plays,” Corbin said.

And Utah really could stand to be spared heartbreak right about now.

The Jazz play the Heat on Saturday at American Airlines Arena. They are 5-11 on the road after losing 104-84 to the Pacers in Indiana, a game in which the Jazz starters didn’t play in the fourth quarter either — for obvious, opposite reasons.

An issue for the Jazz throughout the season, especially on the road, has been starting slow out of the gates. That shouldn’t be a problem on Saturday, they said.

“Certain arenas you come into and coach don’t even have to give a pregame speech,” guard Randy Foye said. “Coach don’t even have to say anything. You see them play so much on TV, you know guys’ tendencies, you know what guys are going to do.”

That’s what Corbin is hoping for, too.

“You would think as a player they know the task at hand,” he said, “ understand the urgency.”

The Heat rank fourth in the NBA in points per game and James, Wade and Chris Bosh all average more than 18 points per game. James leads the way with 25.2.

The Jazz have actually won two of their last three games against the Heat since the formation of the “Big 3,” including the famous double-overtime win in 2010. In that game, Paul Millsap scored 46 points and was a perfect 3 for 3 on 3-pointers, including two late to draw overtime.

“Paul went off,” Corbin said. He added: “It was a great, intense moment for us.”

Indiana native Gordon Hayward said Millsap “had his own Reggie Miller moment.”

While the memories were sweet, Corbin cautioned that previous success against the Heat, particularly that game in Miami, couldn’t be used as an indicator for Saturday.

“That was a different team at a different time,” Corbin said. “This is a championship team.”

Since opening the season a pedestrian 3-3, the Heat are 14-3. Yes, their record includes a surprising loss to the Washington Wizards in D.C., but entering Saturday’s game against the Jazz, they have won three straight by double digits.

As Corbin said, the Jazz don’t want to be in the way of the Heat when they get on a roll.

“Where average teams’ rolls are 10 points,” Corbin said, “[Miami’s] roll can be 20, because they’re so explosive.”

boram@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribjazz

Jazz at Heat

O American Airlines Arena (Miami)

Tipoff • Saturday, 5:30 p.m.

TV • ROOT. Radio • 1280 AM, 97.5 FM

Records • Jazz 14-13; Heat 17-6

Season series • First meeting

About the Jazz • Utah is 5-11 on the road, including a 104-84 loss at Indiana on Wednesday. … Al Jefferson leads the Jazz in scoring, averaging 16.8 points per game, plus 10.2 rebounds per contest. He is one of 10 players in the NBA to average a double-double. … Gordon Hayward has made just seven of his last 22 shots (31 percent). In his third season, he is a career 45.3 percent shooter.

About the Heat • Miami leads the NBA both in field-goal percentage (49.7 percent) and 3-point shooting (40.9 percent). … Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James all average more than 18 points per game. … The Heat commit the fifth fewest turnovers in the league and are fourth in assists.

A closer look

• Miami’s big three of LeBron James, pictured, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are all averaging more than 18 points per game.

• The Heat have won three straight games by double digits, including a 15-point win over the Mavericks on Thursday.