Heat Check: Miami makes it look easy against Jazz

MIAMI — In-game Twitter updates focusing on LeBron James playing without his usual headband for a stretch indicated the type of game the Miami Heat played in Monday night.

That was until James exited the game late in the third quarter after limping around. He apparently had twisted an ankle.

Calm down Heat fans — your King returned midway through the fourth quarter, even though the game’s outcome virtually had been decided.

James had 30 points, nine rebounds and nine assists and the Heat began the second half with a 16-3 run en route to a 117-94 victory against the Utah Jazz at AmericanAirlines Arena.

It was the sixth time this season James scored 30 or more points and the second straight game he fell one rebound and one assist shy of a triple-double.

Dwyane Wade had 27 points and Chris Bosh added 20 for the Heat (18-6).

Alec Burks came off the bench to score 31 points for the Jazz (6-21).

After blowing a 19-point lead only to rally in beating Cleveland on Saturday night, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said pregame Monday that working on maintaining leads was something for his team to work on.

But that scenario never developed in the first half, despite Miami shooting 58.1 percent (18 of 31).

The Heat trailed 50-47 at halftime after playing like a team that might have been looking ahead to the Indiana Pacers’ visit on Wednesday night.

Miami then held Utah to 35 percent (7 of 20) shooting and won the board battle 15-6 in the third quarter.

For a defending two-time NBA champion seeking a three-peat, this was one of many regular-season games that seems to have a “go through the motions” feel to it.

Forward Michael Beasley (strained hamstring), missing his fifth straight game, and center Greg Oden were the Heat’s inactive players.

The turning point

A 16-3 run to open the third quarter that built a 63-53 lead with 7:50 left in the period. Miami then led by at least seven points through the rest of the period and was ahead 83-71 entering the fourth.

The difference maker

Chris Bosh had 13 points, on 5-of-5 shooting, four rebounds and a block in the decisive third quarter, during which his wife Adrienne tweeted a photo with Serena Williams. Understandably, both women were smiling in the photo.

Stat of the game

Miami shot a franchise record 63.4 percent (45 of 71), topping the previous mark of 63.28 percent against Phoenix on Jan. 27, 1997.


What’s next

The Heat continue their five-game homestead with a highly anticipated rematch against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night, 7 p.m. The Heat lost 90-84 at Indiana last week.

Charlie McCarthy can be reached at mac1763@bellsouth.net or on Twitter @mccarthy_chas.