MIAMI (ABC4 Sports) – The Utah Jazz battled hard in the final game of a season-long six-game road trip, but came up short against the Miami Heat Monday night, 119-115.
Jimmy Butler scored 24 points to lead seven Miami players in double figures, Tyler Herro and Gabe Vincent each scored 18 and the Heat held off the Utah Jazz 119-115 on Monday night.
The Jazz (33-36) ended up losing four of the six games on the trip, falling back to 12th place in the Western Conference with 13 games left in the season.
Lauri Markkanen scored 38 for Utah, while Simone Fontecchio scored a career-high 23 points in a career-high 30 minutes for Utah. Ochai Agbaji added 14 for the Jazz. Miami was 31 for 36 from the foul line, compared with 13 for 18 for the Jazz.
“We can still get better,” Markkanen said. “Obviously, they made some good shots too, so credit to them.”
Talen Horton-Tucker put Utah on top with a short jumper with 1:16 left, and Herro gave Miami the lead right back on a 3-pointer with 55.3 seconds remaining. It stayed a two-point game until the final seconds. Agbaji missed a short shot in the lane that was blocked by Adebayo, who got the rebound, then was fouled and made two free throws with six seconds left to seal the win.
Clutch games are defined by the NBA as those within five points with five minutes remaining in regulation, and nobody has played more of them this season than Miami and Utah. This was the 50th for the Heat, the 46th for the Jazz.
“When it gets into those moments of truth, I’ve said this before, at least we understand what our package is and what we’re trying to do, how we want to execute,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We’ve had so many reps and film sessions and walkthroughs and teaching points. I think we’ve all gotten better from that, including the coaching staff.”
Bam Adebayo scored 16 for Miami, while Victor Oladipo and Kevin Love each had 11 and Caleb Martin scored 10.
There were 13 lead changes in the fourth quarter alone, after there were only five of them — and five ties — in the first 36 minutes. Miami is now 28-22 in clutch games, Utah 20-26.
“As long as it’s a close game and we end up winning in the end, I’m happy, I’m content with that,” Butler said. “We’ve just got to string together some wins, now more than ever, which we are capable of. So let’s make it happen.”
Markkanen (21) and Fontecchio (20) were the first Jazz teammates to have at least 20 points by halftime since Donovan Mitchell and Jordan Clarkson did it against the Los Angeles Clippers on June 18, 2021, in a playoff contest.
Utah now has four full days off — a rarity in the NBA outside of the All-Star break — then resumes play Saturday at home against Boston.