The Utah Jazz keep on rolling.
With a 112-94 win over the Miami Heat, they have now won seven straight and 18 of their last 19. Five Jazz players scored in double figures, led by 26 points from Donovan Mitchell. They lead the league in 3-pointers made with 16.7 per game but in this one, they weren't falling.
So, they fell back on the second of their two near league-best strengths - their defence. For the season, Utah ranks second in the NBA in defence, and is the only team to rank in the Top 5 in both offense and defence.
"We're versatile," said the Jazz's Royce O'Neale. "Our 3-point shots weren't falling so we knew our defence was going to kick in."
Tonight, they turned things around with a big third quarter including a 16-0 run.
Third-quarter vs. Heat
Playing their second game in as many days, the Jazz were playing from behind for the first 19 minutes. The Heat led all of the first 19 minutes, including their largest deficit of nine points.
From there, it was a different story. Utah outscored the visitors 76-58. They really began taking control of the game in the third quarter, where they outscored the Heat 31-15 including a 16-0 run.
This sparked a 16-0 run#TakeNote pic.twitter.com/h2KNeerhIH- utahjazz (@utahjazz) February 14, 2021
In the team's 16-0 run, Mitchell scored eight, but Royce O'Neale was the difference maker as he scored or assisted on 10 of the 16.
say something nice about @BucketsONeale00 😁 pic.twitter.com/C1nZ7qCOZZ- utahjazz (@utahjazz) February 14, 2021
In the fourth quarter, the Heat dropped 37 but the Jazz, having found their groove, kept it comfortable by scoring 34 themselves. This was in the fourth quarter, but take a look at the hosts' spectacular ball movement, which eventually resulted in an easy dunk for Rudy Gobert.
Another edition of PERFECT @utahjazz BALL MOVEMENT! 🤯👏 pic.twitter.com/dMVPalFC6i- NBA (@NBA) February 14, 2021
Grinding it out
It was all stacked up against the Jazz. Less than 24 hours after the Bucks, they were suiting up for the Heat - last year's Finalists that had won their last four. Not to mention the fact, they were still without key starter Mike Conley.
And yet, they won by 18 - their 16th double-digit win in these last 19 games.
According to @EliasSports the Utah Jazz are the 3rd team in NBA history to record 16 double-digit wins over a 19-game span within a season.- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 14, 2021
They join the 2008-09 Cavaliers and 1970-71 Bucks. pic.twitter.com/GPMR1FBfda
A large part of their success, especially in this game, is nearly every player contributing across the board and performing their role to perfection.
Bojan Bogdanovic had 19 points, six rebounds, and three assists. Rudy Gobert put up 16 points, 12 rebounds, and three blocks. Royce O'Neale stuffed the stat sheet with eight points, seven rebounds, four assists, three steals, and three blocks, while Aussie Joe Ingles finished with eight points, six assists, three rebounds, and a game-high plus-minus of +30.
Off the bench, Georges Niani put up 14 points and five assists in 17 minutes while Jordan Clarkson contributed 11 points, five assists, four rebounds, and two steals.
For the Heat, their All-Stars contributed across the board but didn't have a great game. Bam Adebayo put up 14 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and two steals but was -20 in his 37 minutes of court time while Jimmy Butler finished with 15 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and three steals but shot 3-of-10 from the field and was a game-low -22 in his 32 minutes.
"Royce defensively takes on the toughest matchup every night," Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said. "That takes a toll on you. He battled through fatigue because he guarded Giannis last night and he guarded Jimmy Butler tonight."
Jazz keep winning but tough road ahead
Over the past week, the Jazz have recorded wins against the Indiana Pacers, Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, and now the Miami Heat. The first three teams are top 5 in the East, while Miami had been surging of late.
They've certainly silenced some doubters during their 18-1 run but they've got a tough road ahead. In fact, the Jazz have the toughest remaining schedule in the league, as per tankothon.com.
Over the next week, Utah plays three games - a chance to silence their remaining doubters. They host MVP candidate Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers in a couple of days, before traveling to Los Angeles to play the Clippers twice in three days.
Meanwhile, the Heat continue their monster road trip to Los Angeles to play the Clippers in a couple of days.
The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.