Wade Leads Heat to Fourth Straight Win
Miami 100, Utah 94
SALT LAKE CITY, Jan. 14 (Ticker) -- Dwyane Wade put forth another solid effort on the Miami Heat's road trip.
Wade scored 31 points in a superb all-around game as the Heat won their fourth straight game, a 100-94 victory over the Utah Jazz, who had their three-game winning streak snapped.
A 6-4 superstar guard, Wade made 10-of-20 shots and 11-of-12 free throws. He added eight rebounds, eight assists and four steals, just missing his second triple-double in as many nights.
Wade scored 13 of his 31 points in the final period, including nine from the line. After Andrei Kirilenko drained a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 95-92 with 55 seconds to go, Wade's pump fake lured Jazz guard Milt Palacio into a foul.
Wade netted both shots for a five-point cushion and added three more in the final 26 seconds to seal Miami's fourth straight triumph over Utah.
The Heat overcame a halftime deficit and a late third-quarter burst from the Jazz to take control early in the fourth, opening the period on a 10-4 spurt. Antoine Walker punctuated the run with back-to-back 3-pointers to give Miami an 83-74 advantage with 8:29 remaining.
"We just made some plays, and guys hit shots," said Wade. "We were able to open things up for me once guys like 'Toine (Walker) hit some big threes. He accepts what his role is to come in off the bench and give us a spark, make plays and hit threes for us."
"Every night, I take pride in my job," Walker said. "Whatever it takes to help us win, that's what I'm concerned with."
A sellout crowd at the Delta Center - just the second this season - witnessed a back-and-forth battle that featured 19 lead changes.
Miami erased Utah's two-point halftime lead in the third quarter, only to see the Jazz storm back with a 10-1 run late in the period to take back the lead at 66-65.
"This was a team that has been playing especially well, and played well tonight, but we've got it now," Wade said. "We've got what we need to do to win, and we did it tonight. No matter if things were going right or wrong, or if guys were tired, we still got the job done."
Kirilenko collected 25 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three blocks for the Jazz, who suffered their first home loss since Dec. 9. Mehmet Okur added 20 points and 14 boards and Palacio scored 14 points.
The Jazz could not overcome the Heat's 50-36 rebounding advantage, which included an 18-9 edge on the offensive glass. Shaquille O'Neal, despite scoring only 12 points and missing his first seven shots, pulled down 14 rebounds, including five on the offensive end.
"We did a very poor job in trying to block them off of the boards," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "They just killed us on the offensive boards."
"We knew they were long and they were going to be coming towards the boards, so we just wanted to limit them to one shot and try to take away their easy shots," O'Neal said.
After dropping the first two games of their current seven-game road trip, Miami has won four straight and finishes the trek Monday vs. the Los Angeles Lakers.
"I'm starting to feel this road trip," Wade said. "Right now, we're becoming a team. Everything's falling into place. I think this road trip was needed for us. Even though it was very long, it was needed for this team to really get a sense of each other."
"A lot of guys are stepping up, a lot of things are happening for us that are good," point guard Gary Payton said. "Everybody's stepping in and playing their roles, so all we think about is winning right now. We're starting to jell a little bit."