Utah Jazz vs. Miami Heat: Postgame Grades and Analysis for Miami

Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistDecember 23, 2012

Utah Jazz vs. Miami Heat: Postgame Grades and Analysis for Miami

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    The Miami Heat took down the Utah Jazz 105-89 in the first meeting between the two in Miami since the "Millsap Miracle" in Miami drove us all crazy with excitement.

    If you can recall that game, Millsap was able to knock down three three-pointers to grab 11 points for the Jazz in the final 28 seconds of the game to force overtime, from where the Jazz went on to win.

    This one was a little bit different.

    Miami was able to win the rebounding battle by a single board in this one, but they were also able to flat-out outshoot the Jazz, shooting over 52 percent from the field compared to Utah's 41 percent.

    Even without Chris Bosh on the floor to provide some spacing and scoring in the post, the Heat were able to keep the Jazz defense scrambling and their offense settling for jump shots.

    The Jazz eventually stopped hitting jumpers, and after a stretch run to begin the third quarter, the Jazz were never back into this one.

    A tiny threat was made down the stretch in the fourth quarter, but it was never serious enough to get LeBron James to stop biting his nails out of habit instead of nervousness.

Mario Chalmers: C-

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    Thankfully for Mario Chalmers, Mo Williams went out in the second half with an apparent problem with a finger on his shooting hand, meaning he had a bit of an easier job defensively throughout the rest of the game.

    He was just fine on the defensive end of the floor because of that, keeping Williams to just five points in the first half, while Earl Watson scored just once.

    Offensively, Chalmers is just kind of there if he's not hitting his jumpers.

    They're not going to look for him if he's not consistent or if they don't need to, and they definitely didn't need to on this Saturday night.

    Chalmers scored five points on five shots to go along with an assist, a steal and two rebounds. What an incredibly average game.

Dwyane Wade: B+

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    Dwyane Wade continued on his up-and-down season with a game that was a lot more up than down, pretty much across the board.

    Wade had an extremely efficient scoring night, bumping out 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting, although he did miss two contested three-pointers. He seems extremely hell-bent on shooting those these days.

    Elsewhere, Wade was able to put up a solid stat line, dropping in seven assists to go along with seven rebounds and two steals. He was really able to fill it up in this one.

    Defensively, Wade had the daunting duty of keeping up with Gordon Hayward when he came in off the bench, something he didn't do incredibly well.

    In a way, he didn't seem to respect Hayward, as he constantly sagged off the dead-eye, leading to Hayward knocking down each of his two three-pointers, scoring 15 points on just eight shots.

Shane Battier: A-

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    Shane Battier had his second-best game of the season, scoring 15 points on just eight shots, all three-pointers.

    He did a pretty good job defensively, switching on and off between Paul Millsap and Marvin WIlliams with LeBron James for the majority of the night, and he was able to keep the pressure up during the second and third quarters, when the game was won by the Heat.

    Battier pulled down just three rebounds, but he also added an assist, a steal and three big blocks over the course of the night, giving them terrific defensive presence.

    At the very least, Battier did his best to keep some of the bigger fellows on Utah from getting rebounds over him all game long, leading to a relatively split game on the glass.

LeBron James: A

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    Well, it was another ho-hum performance for LeBron James.

    As is customary, I might as well run down the stat line, which was stuffed as expected.

    LeBron put up 30 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and another full game of zero personal fouls. That's 224 straight minutes without committing a foul since last grabbing an infraction two weeks ago against the New Orleans Hornets.

    Defensively, he played just as well as he's been able to in the past.

    Spending most of the time checking Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors, LeBron helped to keep them in check for the majority of the game, leading to a very small post presence for the Jazz.

    There was definitely no Millsap magic Saturday night.

Udonis Haslem: B-

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    Filling in for the sniffling Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem was able to fare just fine. He wasn't Bosh, but he wasn't the terrible-looking shooter that he was to start out the season.

    He helped out immensely with the post presence on defense, chasing Al Jefferson out of the lane and continuing to play with enough hitch in his giddy-up to keep up with Jefferson when he left the paint.

    Jefferson was only able to score six point on eight shots, rimming out all night long.

    Haslem pulled down nine rebounds in this on, sharing the lead on the glass with LeBron James, put down two assists, a steal and a block to go along with his six points on six shots.

    As long as he continues to play like this, Miami shouldn't miss Chris Bosh too much.

Ray Allen: B+

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    As the Miami Heat's sixth man, Ray Allen keeps proving a point to the Boston Celtics—that he's going to continue to be a valuable basketball player as long as his team can get him open looks at the basket.

    Ray Allen shot just five shots, making four of them and scoring 13 points thanks to two three pointers in this one, as Utah's perimeter defenders were unable to fight around screens well enough Saturday night.

    Allen continued to prove that he's more than just a spot-up shooter, however. He grabbed three rebounds, doled out an assist and came away with two surprising steals.

    With Allen on the floor, it's difficult for a defense to keep up with everything going on, and if he ends up with an open look, they might as well just turn around and get a head start on the trip back down the floor.

Bench: B-

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    You know it's a good night for the Miami Heat when not only do they see Joel Anthony score twice, but when Dexter Pittman makes his way to the floor.

    Aside from Ray Allen, the bench was able to combine for 15 points from the likes of Anthony, Norris Cole and Mike Miller.

    Cole's five points came off of a three-pointer and a drive to the lane. While he was able to score a bit, throw two assists and come away with two steals, it seems like he's just trying to do too much at times, forcing himself to do things on offense.

    Anthony's four points came on four shots, but he also coughed the ball up three times in just 16 minutes.

    The rest of the bench was comprised of Allen and Miller knocking down shots, and James Jones, Terrel Harris and Pittman playing a few minutes of garbage time.

    Not a bad combined effort, although there are still strides that can be made.