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LeBron, Miami bulldoze Utah Jazz
Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade (3) shoots over Utah Jazz's Mo Williams (5) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Miami, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Miami Heat's LeBron James, right, shoots over Utah Jazz's Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson, left, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Miami, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Utah Jazz's Marvin Williams (2) shoots over Miami Heat defenders Norris Cole (30), Ray Allen (34) and Udonis Haslem (40) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Miami, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Miami Heat's Udonis Haslem pressures Utah Jazz's Al Jefferson (25) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Miami, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Miami Heat's LeBron James (6) shoots a three-pointer against the Utah Jazz during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Miami, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. The Heat won 105-89. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Utah Jazz's Earl Watson (11) pressures Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Miami, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. The Heat won 105-89. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Utah Jazz's Paul Millsap (24) shoots as Miami Heat's Shane Battier (31) and Udonis Haslem (40) defend during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Miami, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. The Heat won 105-89. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Miami Heat's LeBron James (6) is fouled by Utah Jazz's Randy Foye, right, and Jamaal Tinsley, left, defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Miami, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. The Heat won 105-89. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade, right, goes to the basket against Utah Jazz's DeMarre Carroll (3) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Miami, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. The Heat won 105-89. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Utah Jazz's Derrick Favors (15) is fouled by Miami Heat's Joel Anthony (50) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Miami, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. The Heat won 105-89. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Utah Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin gives instructions during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat in Miami, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. The Heat won 105-89. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

Miami • Aw, hell, the King.

Just when the Jazz had a glimmer of hope Saturday against the defending NBA champions — or the score, at least, suggested they did — the man you figured would intervene did just that.

He made layups frontward and backward; fall-away jump shots fell anyway. Playing their first game in Miami since their unforgettable double-overtime victory in 2010, the Jazz could do little to stop LeBron James as he led the Heat to a 105-89 win. It sent the Jazz (14-14) on to Orlando with a bruised ego, a banged-up point guard and badly at risk of falling to 1-3 on this road trip.

James scored 30 points, flirted with a triple-double (nine rebounds, seven assists) and scored 21 points in the second half.

"I don’t need to sit here and say how great LeBron James is," a dispirited Al Jefferson said. "He’s been proving that ever since he’s been in the league."

The scary thing — less for the Jazz and more for the rest of the league — is how effortlessly he seems to be doing it. James became the first player since Karl Malone in 1989-90 to start a season with 24 straight games with 20 or more points. On Saturday, he was 11 of 20 from the field and extended his streak without committing a foul to 27 quarters.

Story continues below

While the people of Miami can sit around and pat themselves on the back for being the benefactors of James’ talents, the prospects facing the Jazz are far less rosy.

Utah has lost five of its last six games, stands at 5-12 on the road and shot just 41 percent against the Heat, and who knows when Mo Williams will be back? The Jazz point guard strained his right thumb in the second quarter when, he said, he caught it on Mario Chalmers’ leg.

In postgame interviews, he compared the pain to an injury in 2008, when he tore a ligament in the thumb and required offseason surgery.

The Jazz fell behind by as much as 20 in the third quarter, and battled back to cut it to 10 after six straight points from Gordon Hayward. They cut it to 90-81 with 5:33 left in the game, but the Heat went on a 15-1 run over the next four minutes to put the game out of hand.

With Williams, the Jazz played the Heat to a 47-43 first half. Without him, they gave up eight straight points in the first minute and a half of the third quarter, which started with a James jumper. Shane Battier then hit back-to-back 3s, and the Jazz found themselves down 12.

While Williams can be hot and cold for the Jazz and his shots occasionally out of rhythm or the flow of the game, the Jazz clearly struggled without him.

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Utah trails by only four at halftime, but Miami squashes Jazz offense.

At a glance

Storylines Miami flexes its talent

O LeBron James leads Miami with 30 points and the Heat run over the reeling Jazz.

» The Jazz trail 47-43 at halftime, but give up eight straight points to start the third quarter.


 
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