Utah Jazz Take Down Goliath, Defeat Miami Heat 99-98

Andrew WallockContributor IMarch 3, 2012

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - DECEMBER 8:  Al Jefferson #25 of the Utah Jazz shoots the ball during a game against the Miami Heat during the second half of an NBA game December 8, 2010 at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Heat beat the Jazz 111-98. NOTE TO USER:  User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
George Frey/Getty Images

The saga of the Utah Jazz continues to get more and more confusing. Only two games removed from a loss to a lowly Sacramento Kings team, the Utah Jazz came through at home and withstood a late run from the powerhouse Miami Heat, who were missing Chris Bosh due to a death in the family. 

Miami, riding a nine-game winning streak, came into this game after a big win in Portland over a scrappy Trail Blazers team. LeBron James dominated in that game, posting a 38-point performance with 11 rebounds and six assists. 

Paul Millsap returned to the lineup for the Jazz in this game after missing their win against Houston due to a heel injury. He was able to put up 8 points and 8 rebounds. 

The Jazz led most of the game, receiving big contributions from Al Jefferson (20 points, six rebounds) and Gordon Hayward (12 points, five rebounds, five assists). An overall balanced effort by the team, the Jazz also received quality minutes from Devin Harris, C.J. Miles, and Earl Watson. However, the Miami Heat rallied back in the fourth behind a big game from LeBron James. 

With 1:19 left to go in the fourth quarter, James hit a big three-pointer to put the Heat up 95-94. On the next possession, James followed that up with a two with less than 30 seconds to go, putting them up by three. 

On the Jazz's next possession, Miles missed a wild shot, but was bailed out by Big Al, who rebounded it and put it back in for two cutting the lead to one. 

On a Jazz intentional foul, Dwyane Wade missed one of his two free throws, giving a chance for the Jazz to get back in the game. 

With less than five seconds to go, a struggling Harris hit a floater and drew the foul to put the Jazz up one over the defending Eastern Conference champions. 

LeBron further added to his legacy as a choker in the clutch by losing the game on a pass to Udonis Haslem as the clock ticked down. Haslem missed the jumper to give the Jazz a much-needed win against Miami at home. 

For the Heat, LeBron finished with 35 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Wade contributed with 31 points, and Shane Battier also had 18 for the Heat.