THE FACTS: The Utah Jazz haven't been great at holding fourth quarter leads, and in the closing minutes against the Miami Heat on Monday night they had the best closer in the business breathing down their necks.
But the Jazz held on while weathering a LeBron James storm, and beat the Heat 104-97. Al Jefferson had 23 points and 11 rebounds as Utah had a 21-point lead cut to two in the fourth quarter. Gordon Hayward scored 22 points off the bench for the Jazz.
James had 32 points on 13-for-19 shooting and added six assists, four rebounds and three steals. Chris Bosh had 16 points despite playing less than two minutes in the fourth quarter. Dwyane Wade didn't play at all in the fourth and had 11 points and five rebounds.
QUOTABLE: "Just for us to get a tough win against a great opponent, we learned how to finish games off against guys like these. It was a tremendous lesson. Our guys showed a lot of character and poise to be able to weather the storm and pull ourselves back together and get a win here against a good ballclub."
-- Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin on his team's closing ability
THE STAT: Utah's strengths and Miami's weaknesses were magnified in the number of rebounds and second-chance points each team collected. Utah had a 40-23 edge in rebounding. The Jazz had 13 offensive rebounds and 19 second-chance points. Miami had five offensive rebounds and zero second-chance points. The Heat's 23 rebounds were a season-low.
TURNING POINT: James was instrumental in bringing Miami back within two in the fourth quarter, but he was also involved in three plays that turned the tide in Utah's favor for good. Down 93-91, he committed goaltending on a shot by Hayward that didn't look like it was going in. That came after Utah had made just one field in nearly eight minutes. James committed an offensive foul on Miami's next possession, and Jefferson stretched Utah's lead to six with two free throws. The next time the Heat had the ball, James missed a 3-pointer and Hayward made a foul shot on the other end to put Utah ahead 98-91 with 2:03 remaining. Miami didn't get closer the rest of the way.
HOT: Utah was able to shockingly build a 17-point lead before halftime by playing spectacularly on offense. The Jazz made their first nine shots in the second quarter and shot 80 percent in the period. Hayward scored 12 of his points in the second quarter on 5-for-6 shooting, and Derrick Favors (3-for-3) and DeMarre Carroll (2-for-2) were perfect from the field in the period. Hayward, overall, was 8-for-13 and hit a fadeaway off a pretty behind-the-back dribble against Ray Allen to put Utah ahead 100-93 with 40.4 seconds remaining.
NOT: One can't help but wonder where Bosh and Wade were in the fourth quarter. And it didn't say much for either player that Miami trimmed an 84-65 deficit at the start of the fourth quarter to two with both players on the pine. Both players put up decent shooting numbers, but neither was much of a factor when they were in the game. Bosh is the team's second-leading rebounder, and had just one board. Wade didn't do much attacking after a couple of hard fouls. For the Jazz, Marvin Williams returned after a three-game absence because of right knee inflammation and scored just five points on 2-for-8 shooting. Jamaal Tinsley took mostly emergency shots with the shot clock running down and was only 1-for-7 shooting.
QUOTABLE II: "Look, our rebounding as a group is a big deal. Like everything else everybody has to give more. That is the bottom line. It is not going to be easy. Our road trip doesn't get easier. If we want a quality win we have to give more."
-- Heat coach Erik Spoelstra on his team's rebounding struggles
GOOD MOVE: Corbin rolled the dice in the first quarter, making reserve Carroll his first substitution in the game. While Jazz fans clamored for Hayward or popular bench player Alec Burks, Carroll made his coach look like a genius. He was scrappy on defense against James and displayed a shooting touch that hasn't been seen much from the "Junkyard Dog." He shot 5-for-6 and scored all of his 12 points before halftime.
BAD MOVE: The Jazz got the Heat in the penalty with 6:44 remaining in the fourth quarter and didn't attack. On its next five possessions, Utah settled for three jump shots, missing all of them, and committed two turnovers.
NOTABLE: Allen moved up to 21st on the NBA's all-time scoring list. His close-range runner midway through the fourth quarter gave him 10 points in the game, 23,336 for his career, and moved him past former Boston Celtics great Robert Parish. ... Utah's bench outscored Miami's, 47-26. ... The Heat are 4-6 in their last 10 games and just 1-3 on their current six-game road trip. ... Miami's Shane Battier missed his third straight game while dealing with a hamstring injury.
UP NEXT: For the Heat, Wednesday @ Golden State, Thursday @ L.A. Lakers, Jan. 23 vs. Toronto. For the Jazz, Saturday vs. Cleveland, Jan. 23 vs. Wwashington, Jan. 25 @ L.A. Lakers.