Maybe Miami coach Erik Spoelstra had a premonition.
After Miami’s morning shootaround at EnergySolutions Arena, Spoelstra suggested the upcoming game between the Heat and Jazz might be a good one.
“They built a great franchise here with a lot of consistency,” Spoelstra said. “I know they are going through a period of time now where they are rebuilding. But we’ve always [had] great battles in this building. It’s a great environment — a fun place to play.”
Miami didn’t have much fun Saturday night.
The Heat shot 43.3 percent, trailed by 14 points in the first quarter and eventually failed to make the critical plays down the stretch during a 94-89 loss to Utah.
Heading into the game, Miami had won three straight games to stay within striking distance of Indiana in the race for best record in the Eastern Conference.
Meanwhile, the Jazz had lost three straight by an average of 17 points and started the evening with the worst record in the West.
It didn’t matter after the Jazz dominated the first quarter and nearly went wire-to-wire against heavily favored Miami.
“We just didn’t have a lot of rhythm offensively,” Spoelstra said. “... There wasn’t a great flow the entire game. We understand that. That’s going to happen. We have a veteran team.
“We really would have liked to find some resolve to win this, even though it wasn’t going our way. But you have to credit Utah. It wasn’t just one team playing out there.”
Dwyane Wade led the Heat with 19 points, but LeBron James struggled. He finished with 13 points on 4-for-13 shooting.
“It was just one of those days,” said Spoelstra.”You are not going to play great every night.”
Said James: “We had some great looks, including myself — some really open looks. It was just one of those games. ... We were out of our rhythm.”
Miami overcame its slow start and trailed 81-77 with four minutes left. But the Jazz’s Marvin Williams followed with a long 3-pointer that just beat the shot clock.
“That kind of hurt us a little bit,” Wade said.
With 46.9 seconds left, Ray Allen kept the Heat alive with a 3-pointer, which trimmed Utah’s lead to 91-89. But Trey Burke countered with a jumper and the Jazz held on for their fourth win in the last seven games against the two-time world champions.
“They played well,” Spoelstra said. “... Was it our style? Not necessarily. But we still had a handful of plays to make in the fourth quarter — five or six. They made them and we didn’t. That’s why they got the result.”
Said James: “We didn’t shoot the ball well, like we are capable of doing. That’s what it came down to.”
Highlights of Utah’s 94-89 win
• The Jazz snap Miami’s three-game winning streak with a 94-89 victory.
• Reigning MVP LeBron James scores 13 points on 4-for-13 shooting.
• The Heat manage 20 points and fall behind by 14 in the first quarter.