Confetti fell from the rafters, and fans stood on their feet, screaming and applauding as if they had just witnessed a championship victory.
It was not, of course.
The parade planners can still focus on South Beach over South Salt Lake. But in beating the Miami Heat 94-89 Saturday night, the Utah Jazz have a win of which they can be proud.
"Them being great, it’s easy to get up for them," Jazz coach Ty Corbin said of the defending champions. "These guys are great. Our locker room should be excited about the effort tonight and should be excited about a great win. [Miami is] the best team in the world."
The win was even more surprising giving Utah’s performance the night before in Dallas, when the Mavericks ran roughshod over them. After the loss, the Jazz’s fourth in a row, forward Marvin Williams had words for his teammates.
"We were disappointed in our effort," he said.
"It was an answer game," Richard Jefferson said.
For the Jazz, Williams was again instrumental, matching his season high with 23 points — his third game in a row with 20 or more. Twelve of those points came in the first quarter, as the Jazz blitzed the Heat, jumping out to a 32-20 lead.
Utah pushed the advantage to 14 before Miami made a game of it.
Behind 19 points from All-Star guard Dwyane Wade, the Heat rallied to recapture the lead late in the second quarter.
But the Jazz, lifeless the night before, responded this time.Next Page »