NBA.com Daily Confidential

The Miami Heat have never lost to the Utah Jazz with Shaquille O'Neal in the lineup, or since Pat Riley returned to the sidelines after a two-year hiatus. Neither will be available Saturday.

With O'Neal and Riley still recovering from surgery, the Heat look for their sixth straight win over the Jazz when they meet at EnergySolutions Arena.

Miami (16-19) has won five straight against Utah (24-12) since a 97-85 loss on Jan. 15, 2004. The Heat have averaged 105.0 points in that span while holding the Jazz to 89.4 per game.

Miami swept the two-game season series against the Jazz last season in Riley's return as coach. The 61-year-old Riley, though, is recovering from Thursday's surgery to replace his left hip, and the Heat don't know when he'll return to the sidelines.

Riley also had surgery last week on his right knee to remove cartilage.

"I just wish him well," said Ron Rothstein, who has been in charge since Riley announced an indefinite leave of absence Jan. 3. "I hope he gets healthy, (that) he doesn't need to be taking all that medicine. I hope he gets back soon."

Miami has also won all four of its games against Utah with O'Neal in the lineup. Although he is making progress from knee surgery, practicing with the team Thursday for the first time since tearing cartilage in his left knee, the veteran center doesn't expect to be back in the lineup until next Thursday at the earliest.

O'Neal missed his 29th consecutive game Friday night, but the defending NBA champion Heat earned their first three-game winning streak of the season with a 118-96 victory over Golden State.

Forwards Antoine Walker and James Posey were back in uniform, ending their deactivations for failing to meet team conditioning requirements. Walker had 13 points in 19 minutes, while Posey had seven points and nine rebounds in 15 minutes of action.

"It's good to see guys coming back," said Heat guard Dwyane Wade, who had 22 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. "It's good to see Shaq working out again. It's good to see 'Toine and Pose back. It's way too early to tell, but it feels like some games of last season where we had that confidence. We're getting that swagger back."

Utah is in danger of losing three straight for the first time this season after falling 122-114 in overtime to Seattle on Friday night. Carlos Boozer led the Jazz with 32 points and 16 rebounds. He is averaging 28.3 points while shooting 72 percent (37-for-51) in his last three games.

Deron Williams added 15 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. Williams has struggled in two career games against the Heat, though, averaging 7.0 points while shooting just 31 percent (7-for-22) from the field.

The Jazz have lost six straight games when allowing 100 points or more.


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