NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, February 8th (All times Eastern)
Miami Heat (35-13) at Utah Jazz (16-33), 9 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Miami Heat have squeezed by in each of their last two games and will aim for an easier time Saturday against the Utah Jazz.
The Heat posted a close 102-96 win versus the Detroit Pistons on Monday at home, then boarded a flight out west and handed the Los Angeles Clippers a 116-112 setback Wednesday at Staples Center.
LeBron James nearly posted a triple-double and recorded 31 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds, but Ray Allen hit a clutch 3-pointer down the stretch to help Miami win for a third straight time and improve to 8-2 in the last 10. Allen made it 112-107 with 42.4 seconds to go and the Clippers never got closer than four points the rest of the way.
Allen and Chris Bosh scored 15 points apiece, while Shane Battier and Dwyane Wade each ended with 14. Blake Griffin was a beast for Los Angeles and finished with a game-high 43 points.
Miami dished out a franchise quarter-high 15 assists and shot 69.6 percent in the opening 12 minutes. It shot 52.6 percent in the first of six straight away games and pushed its road mark to 15-9. The Heat have won two in a row and four of five road games.
"It's tough to win on the road, it's about finding a way," said Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra, who needs five wins for 300 in his career. "We got tested tonight."
The Heat have only three home games in February, the least amount in South Beach in a complete calendar month during a season in team lore. They will also visit Phoenix, Golden State, Dallas and Oklahoma City, and have scored 90 or more points in 26 straight games.
Meanwhile, James is third in the NBA with 26.3 ppg and is posting an average of 28.9 ppg in the last 15. He needs one more double-double for 100 as a member of the Heat.
Utah is mired in a four-game losing streak and has a 2-6 record in the last eight games. The losing ways continued with Friday's 103-81 demolition at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks, as Marvin Williams scored all 21 of his points in the first half to lead Utah.
Trey Burke scored 13 points and handed out five assists, while Richard Jefferson was the only other Utah player to score in double figures with 10 points. The Mavericks won every quarter by scoring 20-plus points and buried 10-of-18 3-pointers.
"I thought they were the aggressive team," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "They had the most energy. Give them credit, they executed better than we did."
The Jazz are 10-14 in Salt Lake City this season and dropped a 117-94 decision at Miami on Dec. 16. James had 30 points, nine rebounds and nine assists in that one and the Jazz were led by Alec Burks' 31 points.
Miami is 14-5 in the last 19 meetings between the teams, but has lost two in a row and four of six trips to Utah.
02/08 16:04:39 ET