Heat Jump on Jazz Early, Cruise to Win
Miami 121, Utah 83
MIAMI, March 14 (Ticker) -- Dwyane Wade helped the Miami Heat get their offense going early and they never slowed the rest of the way.
Wade scored 19 of his 26 points in the opening period, when the Heat scored 41 points en route to a 121-83 drubbing of the Utah Jazz.
It was a welcomed change for the Heat, who trailed after one period in six of their previous seven games.
"Obviously it was a surprise based on what's been happening to us in the last six games when we get down in the first quarter," Miami coach Pat Riley said. "We just had a great first quarter; it was incredible. I don't think I have seen this team play like that (in the first quarter)."
In the opening period, Wade was 7-of-10 from the floor and made all five free throws in the best scoring quarter of his three-year career.
"The last couple of games, we haven't come out good," Wade said. "You have to use the crowd and the energy that is in the building to help you go. That's what we did early."
"(Wade) has always been a great player," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "He enjoys playing and enjoys competing. It's fun to see people like that and people like to watch that. I don't like watching it when we're playing against him, but I certainly respect what he's about."
With less than a minute remaining in the first quarter, Wade made an acrobatic layup as he was fouled by Greg Ostertag, prompting the home crowd to chant "MVP!"
"It always feels good when anybody says anything about playing good and the fans are into the game," Wade said.
Shaquille O'Neal added seven of his 13 points in the period as the Heat shot 70 percent (16-of-23).
"We came out with a lot of energy," O'Neal said. "We haven't had a game like this in a while. Sometimes when we get a lead like that we get lackadaisical, but it didn't happen tonight."
Miami held a 62-40 halftime lead before Alonzo Mourning scored 12 of his 19 points in the third period. The Heat scored a season-high 39 points in the period.
"We know what we are capable of doing and when we set our mind to it, we can do that consistently," Mourning said. "If we play like that, I think we will be all right, especially heading into the postseason."
Utah allowed Miami to shoot 57 percent (36-of-63) as it surrendered its highest point total of the season.
"We just got annihilated," Sloan said. "We didn't give them any competition at all. They weren't toying with us, they were burying us."
Matt Harpring scored 20 points and Carlos Boozer added 12 by shooting a combined 15-of-26 for the Jazz, which trailed by as many as 41 points. The rest of the team shot just 34 percent (23-of-67).
"You can't spot a good team like this with 20 points," Harping said. "It's tough to watch it from the bench and see your team go down."