The LeBron James clutch talk will carry on for at least a few more days, as James had another opportunity to go for a winning shot but instead chose Udonis Haslem, who missed as time expired, and the Miami Heat’s winning streak stopped at 9 in Salt Lake City against the Utah Jazz, 99-98.
Devin Harris came up with final points for the Jazz, making a three point play with 4.5 seconds left. Harris is nowhere near as good as Deron Williams is, but the man is difficult to guard, and he’s one of the reasons the Jazz are a borderline playoff team this season despite not making any major additions compared to last season. Harris, who finished with 13 points, is averaging 15 points and 5.2 assists in the Jazz’ last five games.
James might be the hottest player in the league right now. He finished with 35 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and three blocks and again, no turnovers. He brought the Heat back from a 74-56 to take the lead late in the game by playing point guard and guarding the Jazz’ playmaker, but all does who like to criticize the man will remember is him not taking the last shot, the obvious choice, on himself.
Dwyane Wade scored 31 as well, but Dwyane Wade committed two unnecessary fouls on Devin Harris late in the fourth, that cost the Heat five points, probably losing the game, partly because of that. Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole combining for 2-14 from the field would probably be another reason.
Life without Chris Bosh does get Spoelstra more creative offensively, relying on James’ ability to guard almost anyone and play almost every position doesn’t work in every game. Shane Battier was incredible from the outside, but there was no one to create points off loose boards, with the bench adding only 10 points.
For the Jazz, Al Jeffereson finished with 20 points as they dominated the rebounding, beating the Heat 50-32 in that department. He scored off an offensive rebound to put the Jazz within one point, down 97-94 with 45 seconds left. Dwyane Wade could only make one of his free throws, something that was a problem for the Heat in the finals as well.