NBA Basketball

Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Utah 30 23 41 22 116
Miami 26 31 39 28 124
5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 PM CT0:00 , February 26, 2021
AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, Florida

Red-hot Jazz ready to face Heat in Miami

According to STATS
According to STATS

Utah Jazz at Miami Heat

  1. Jimmy Butler is one of four NBA players averaging at least 20.0 points, 8.0 assists, and 8.0 rebounds in February, along with Nikola Jokic, James Harden and LeBron James. Butler and Jokic are the only ones of the four averaging at least 1.5 steals in February as well.
  2. Donovan Mitchell had 10 rebounds on Wednesday, just his second career game meeting that mark. He was two assists shy of his first career triple-double (13 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists) -- still, it was his second double-double of the season, as many as he had in his first three NBA seasons combined.
  3. Utah has won three of its last four against Miami, with each win coming by at least 15 points, and the loss by just three. Utah has averaged 110.8 points over the four games while holding Miami to 96.5 ppg.
  4. The Jazz have beaten the Hornets and Lakers by 22 and 25 in their last two games, respectively. No team has won three straight games by 20+ points this season, and only the Bucks (eight) have more 20-point wins this season than the Jazz (seven).
  5. Miami has won four straight, its second four-game winning streak during February. The Heat are allowing just 39.8 ppg in the paint this season, best in the NBA -- opponents are only scoring 38.5 ppg in the paint during the winning streak.
  6. Bam Adebayo had a season-high six offensive rebounds on Wednesday, and Miami 3-0 when he has at least four offensive boards this season. It was his ninth game of the season with at least 12 rebounds, and Miami is 7-2 in those games.
(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Goran Dragic put it perfectly when asked about his Miami Heat teammate, Jimmy Butler.

"He's our leader," Dragic said. "We need him."

Butler and the Heat, winners of four straight games, will try to keep it going on Friday night when Miami plays host to the red-hot Utah Jazz, who have the best record in the NBA.

In Wednesday's 116-108 win over the Toronto Raptors, Butler had 27 points, including 14 in the crucial fourth quarter. Butler also had a game-high 10 assists, eight rebounds and three steals. And, to top it off, he made a season-high three 3-pointers, including two in the final minutes.

"That was a quintessential Jimmy game," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "It was an all-around, winning game."

Miami is still not 100 percent health-wise. But Dragic returned on Wednesday after missing nine straight games due to an ankle injury.

It is also possible that Tyler Herro will return on Friday. He has been out due to a hip injury, and his return would be huge for Miami because of the scoring punch he provides.

Bam Adebayo leads Miami in scoring (19.6), rebounds (9.6) and blocks (1.0). Butler leads Miami in assists (7.8) and steals (1.9) while averaging 19.5 points and 7.7 rebounds.

Herro is third in scoring (16.9). Dragic is averaging 14.4 points, and those are Miami's four top scorers and key components.

But while the Heat had been struggling before this recent win streak and are not yet back to .500 with a 15-17 record, Utah (26-6) is rolling.

In fact, the Jazz beat Miami 112-94 in Utah on Feb. 13 in the only previous meeting between the teams this season.

In that game, Utah held Miami scoreless for a six-minute stretch bridging the second and third quarters, leading to the rather easy win.

"We know our shots are not always going to fall," Jazz center Rudy Gobert said, "but we have a chance every night because of our defense."

Gobert, who had 16 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks in that game, is the head of the Jazz snake when it comes to defense. He is a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year (2018, 2019). He has also made the NBA's First-Team All-Defense in each of the past four years.

Offensively, the Jazz are led in scoring by Donovan Mitchell (24.1), a two-time All-Star (2020, 2021) who is approaching his peak at age 24.

Veteran point guard Mike Conley averages 16.3 points and leads the Jazz in assists (5.7) and steals (1.5). Bojan Bogdanovic averages 15.3 points, and Jordan Clarkson leads the bench scorers (18.3).

In Utah's 114-89 beatdown of the reigning NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night, the Jazz made 22 three-pointers, shooting an impressive 45.8 percent from distance. Mitchell nearly had a triple-double with 13 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. Conley came close also -- 14 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

"We have a lot of guys who can make plays," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "That's who we are and part of our identity."

Conley said the Jazz should have had more than their two All-Star selections this year, which were Mitchell and Gobert.

"We're making history in so many ways, and we should've been rewarded for that," Conley said.

Added Lakers coach Frank Vogel when asked about the Jazz: "They're the hottest team in the league. Nobody's playing as well as Utah right now."

--Field Level Media

Updated February 26, 2021

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