Heat struggle to slow down Jazz in fourth straight loss
MIAMI (AP) — The first shot of the game was blocked by Utah’s Rudy Gobert, which seemed appropriate.
Defense carried the Jazz again.
Gordon Hayward scored 25 points, Rodney Hood added 17 and the Jazz added to Miami’s miserable start by beating the Heat 102-91 on Saturday night. The Jazz pulled away with a 15-0 run that started late in the second quarter and lasted midway through the third.
"That’s who we need to be," Utah coach Quin Snyder said. "That’s what our strength is with Rudy, and our guys on the ball, and our wings with their size. We’re a different type of defense, we’re more of a containment defense. But that’s who we need to be and we need to make it hard on people."
Hassan Whiteside had 15 points and 14 rebounds for Miami. James Johnson scored 15 points, Rodney McGruder added 14 and Josh Richardson had 12.
The Heat missed 13 straight shots in that scoreless stretch, 10 of those to start the second half.
"That’s not who we are, that’s not who we’ve been for the last month," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "Definitely disappointing."
Utah was without George Hill (right thumb) and Boris Diaw (right knee) again, then lost Derrick Favors to left knee soreness in the first quarter. But a night after holding Orlando to 74 points, and playing for fifth time on a seven-night trip, the Jazz limited Miami to 59 through three quarters — building enough of a cushion to endure the Heat shooting 61 percent in the fourth.
"It’s big with a couple of guys out," Hood said. "It’s been a long road trip. We’ve played a lot of games in a short amount of days."
Gobert had 12 points and 12 rebounds. Shelvin Mack scored 12, while former Heat forward Joe Johnson and Dante Exum each added 10.
"A huge road trip for us," Hayward said.
Miami (2-6) has now dropped four straight and is off to its worst start since 2007-08.
"We’ve just got to keep working," Whiteside said. "It’s not easy to win in this league."
Jazz: Hayward has been in five games this season, and scored at least 20 in all of them. He did miss a free throw for the first time all season, after making his first 31. … Utah went 4-1 on its Eastern Conference trip. … The Jazz won for the third time in their last 13 trips to Miami.
Heat: Whiteside has at least 10 rebounds in all eight games this season. … Miami was without Goran Dragic (sprained left ankle). … Dion Waiters and Luke Babbitt both started, but their nights ended early. Babbitt played only the first 5:15 (going 0 for 3, all from 3-point range), and Waiters sat the final 19 minutes.
Favors started 3 for 3, then was ruled out for the night. Knee soreness was an issue earlier this season, and he averaged nearly 34 minutes over Utah’s last three games.
Heat forward Josh McRoberts made his season debut, with four points in 13 minutes. Since coming to Miami, he’s missed 112 of 172 regular-season games. And Derrick Williams, who played in just one of the first seven games, scored 11 points in 20 minutes.
The 2016 NBA Development League championship banner was unfurled before the Sioux Falls Skyforce — Miami’s affiliate — played their home opener Saturday. Heat assistant coaches Dan Craig and Octavio de la Grana, who coached Sioux Falls last season, will get their rings before an upcoming Miami home game.
Jazz: Host Memphis on Monday. After opening with eight of 11 on the road, Utah gets a two-game homestand.
Heat: Visit San Antonio on Monday. It’s a one-game trip for Miami, wrapping up the season series with the Spurs.