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Gaston De Cardenas, FR170063 AP
Miami Heat center Hasan Whiteside dunks the ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz Sunday, Dec 2, 2018, in Miami. (AP Photo/Gaston De Cardenas)
MIAMI — After visiting 10 cities over a 12-game span, the Utah Jazz are headed back to Salt Lake City.
The latest three-game road trip ended in a 102-100 loss to the Miami Heat on Sunday after Donovan Mitchell’s potential game-winning three fell short.
Despite jumping ahead by as many as 19 points in the opening quarter, including a 20-5 start, Utah fizzled as the game progressed.
Utah shot 60 percent from the field in the first quarter, with a season-high 35 points, but didn’t score in the final 1:46 and went 8:06 total without scoring, missing 14 consecutive field goals, until Joe Ingles ended the offensive drought with a jumper at 5:39 in the second.
Utah led 55-39 entering halftime despite going 6-for-16 (37.5 percent) at the free-throw line after holding Miami to 40.4 percent shooting.
” It was a tough road stretch. I feel like we obviously took strides and got better on this trip. ”
Utah Jazz forward Jae Crowder
For the game, the Jazz shot 43.8 percent, allowing Dwyane Wade to score seven of his 15 points in the final 3:41. He also nailed the game-winning free throws with 3.2 seconds to play after drawing a foul on Rudy Gobert.
“I definitely wanted that ball,” Wade recalled. “I knew what I was going to do already, I kind of had it predetermined just because of in the fourth quarter and me having the ball at the top of the key and how they guarded me I knew that they was thinking I was going to the left so I kind of set that up.”
The Jazz fell to 11-13 after the latest loss after playing 10 of their last dozen away from Vivint Arena, with the next two scheduled at home against San Antonio and Houston on Tuesday and Thursday, before hitting the road again for another two-game trip.
In Miami, Utah played its league-leading 16th road game and still owns the second-most road victories (9), behind Toronto’s 10, despite the loss. The Jazz were 20-21 on the road last season.
“Part of the challenge of this trip has been going home when you’re gone for four or five games and then that first game back is always a challenging game and that’s why I kind of refer to it as a 12-game road trip,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder described. “Because we were on the road for five games, back for one game, on the road for two games, back for one game, on the road for four games so when you only go home and play one game, it’s hard to get your feeling.
“We’ve got to do a better job at that,” he said. “To whatever extent it may be, you lose a little focus and have a letdown when you get off the road because that happens a lot. You come back from road trips and I think our team has grown from that.”
Jazz center Gobert recorded his 21st double-double with 12 points and a season-high 18 boards and three blocks, but Miami’s Hassan Whiteside finished with 23 points, 20 rebounds and three blocks, too.
Ricky Rubio posted a team-high 23 points and six assists while Jae Crowder made his third start of the season in place of Derrick Favors to end with 19 points and six rebounds.
Despite American Airlines Arena being dressed in the Miami Heat’s Vice Nights theme, including the black, pink and blue court, players elected to wear the traditional red jerseys, instead of the alternate, as they were 0-6 in the special edition uniforms. That wasn’t the case against Miami, though, as it overcame a 19-point deficit to beat the Jazz.
Utah has now lost all three games this season decided by five points or less.
“It was a tough road stretch,” Crowder said. “I feel like we obviously took strides and got better on this trip. We have to take that and keep building. We have a week at home, I believe so. We have to use those games to keep building and trusting each other. We have the home crowd behind us, so it’s going to be good to be home.”