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Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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Heat Follow Playbook To Beat Jazz In Miami

Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Miami Heat handed the Utah Jazz an impressive 124-116 victory on Friday night.

With the loss, the Jazz started their four-game road trip off on a sour note, despite a strong 30 point outing from guard Donovan Mitchell.

Jimmy Butler carried the Heat with 33 points, leading Miami to their fifth consecutive win.

Heat Follow Formula For Beating Jazz

There’s a pretty consistent pattern in most of the Jazz losses this season.

First, the Jazz get outshot by the opponent, and second, Mike Conley has a poor shooting performance of his own.

With how good the Jazz have been both shooting the ball and on defense, it’s not often they find themselves being outshot by an opponent.

But, against Miami, the Jazz lost the shooting battle by connecting on just 42 percent of their shots from the floor and 32 percent from the three-point line.

The Heat meanwhile shot an impressive 51 percent from the floor and 46 percent from three.

In the Jazz six losses entering Miami, they had only one instance when they had outshot an opponent either from the floor or the three-point line.  That occurred when they outshot the Los Angeles Clippers 35 percent to 33 percent from the three-point line last week.

On Friday, Miami was able to outshoot the Jazz from both areas on the floor, earning one of the key ingredients to beat the Jazz.

Then, to complete the formula, Conley connected on just 6-15 shots for 40 percent.

Entering the game, the Jazz were just 5-4 in games when Conley shot 40 percent or worse from the floor. They were 7-6 in Conley’s 13 worst shooting games of the season.

After his performance against Miami, the Jazz moved to 5-5 in games when Conley shoots 40 percent or worse from the floor and 7-7 overall in his 14 worst shooting outings of the season.

Miami targeted Conley on the defensive end forcing him to expend more energy on that end of the floor, and it appeared that the Jazz guard was frustrated by the amount of contact the Heat got away with when defending him.

Regardless, Miami’s attack pulled Conley out of his game, and mixed with their hot shooting, followed the pattern for how to beat the Jazz so far this season.

Jazz Never Get Their Streak

Just as there has been a formula for beating the Jazz, the Jazz have found a similar formula for beating their opponents this season.

When the Jazz go on a 10-0 run during a game, they walk away with a victory. The Jazz never got their run, and truly never found a rhythm of any kind against Miami.

The Jazz best stretch came with 4:05 left in the fourth quarter and the team trailing by eight, Bojan Bogdanovic hit a three-pointer to rim the lead to five. A Conley layup cut it to three, and Rudy Gobert free-throws cut the deficit to one with 2:30 left to play, but the Jazz couldn’t trim the lead any further.

Once again, credit Miami for both getting stops and making run-preventing baskets. But the Jazz deserve some of the blame for their mental errors that prevented them from fully closing the gap.

Trailing by two late in the first half, the Jazz failed to execute a smart two-for-one opportunity, resulting in a rushed Bogdanovic three with just 25 seconds left on the game clock.

The Heat turned the miss into a Butler dunk and built a four point lead after the Jazz were left with a desperation Conley three to end the half.

At the end of the third quarter, the Jazz had a one-point lead with a chance to steal the momentum heading into the final period. However, a Jordan Clarkson missed three led to a wide-open Andre Iguodala three on the other end giving Miami a two-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Late in the game, with the Jazz trailing by two, Mitchell missed a free-throw that could have cut the lead to just one. After a Jazz stop, Mitchell again missed a tough nine-foot push shot, then carelessly threw the ball out of bounds on what should have been an open Bogdanovic three.

“We just made a lot of mistakes,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “We had too many breakdowns on both ends.”

The Jazz had several opportunities to wrestle the lead away from Miami in the second half, but never fully capitalized, and ultimately it cost them the game.

Bad Clarkson, Good Dragic

Perhaps the most apparent disparity between the Jazz and Heat came in the performances from their two sixth men.

Clarkson is the current favorite to win the Sixth Man of the Year award, but he was profoundly outplayed by Heat guard Goran Dragic.

Dragic finished with 26 points, tying his highest-scouring output of the season while shooting 9-15 from the floor and 3-4 from three.

Clarkson meanwhile finished with just 13 points on 4-17 shooting and 3-12 from three. Clarkson’s two worst shooting games of the season have come against Miami, as two weeks ago the guard shot just 4-15 from the floor and 2-9 from three in the Jazz home win.

Despite his struggles, Clarkson wasn’t concerned about his performance.

“I just missed shots,” Clarkson said. “We have great looks, especially myself. Just didn’t make them, just one of those nights.”

The guard had been terrific since his last poor outing against Miami. Over the last five games entering Friday’s loss, Clarkson was averaging 23 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 2.0 assists while shooting 47 percent from the floor and 42 percent from three.

The Jazz have a quick Florida turnaround as they face the Orlando Magic tomorrow at 6 pm MT.

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