Gordon Hayward's 34 carry Utah Jazz past Miami Heat

By Jody Genessy, The Sports Xchange  |  Jan. 10, 2016 at 1:32 AM
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SALT LAKE CITY -- Gordon Hayward didn't have much left in the tank Saturday night.

As far as the injury-plagued Utah Jazz were concerned, their leading scorer had just enough.

Hayward scored a season-high 34 points and the Jazz defeated the Miami Heat 98-83 to snap a three-game losing streak.

"I think his tempo is really good and as a result his reads are improving. He is not moving so fast," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "He has been really poised. Without (Alec) Burks, (Rodney) Hood and (Derrick) Favors, a lot of it falls on Gordon and we rode him tonight."

Hayward hit 14 of 22 shots from the field, including an exclamation dunk late in the game, to help make up for eight turnovers.

"Honestly, I'm tired. We needed this win," Hayward said. "The fans were tremendous for us tonight. We really appreciate that. We couldn't do it without them, especially the way we've been beat up lately. It was a great win."

Guard Chris Johnson added 14 points in his first start for the Jazz, and starting point guard Raul Neto contributed 13 points and five assists. Sixth man Trey Burke had 11 points, the 27th time he has scored in double figures off the bench for Utah.

Utah, playing without two injured starters, improved to 16-20.

Forward Chris Bosh led the Heat with 24 points and seven rebounds.

Miami, playing the second night in a row, dropped to 22-15. The Heat continue their six-game road trip Monday at Golden State.

"You do have to give him (Hayward) credit. He's a savvy scorer," Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. "He was doing it off drives, off movement, off pick-and-rolls. We had three or four different defenders on him and two or three different looks they were trying to give to him and even at one point just trying to trap and get the ball out of his hands. He's really grown as a player."

Guard Goran Dragic added 16 points for Miami, which beat Phoenix 103-95 on Friday. Star guard Dwyane Wade was held to eight points.

In a battle of top young centers, Hassan Whiteside had 10 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks for Miami. Rudy Gobert contributed nine points, five boards and four blocks for Utah. It was Gobert's second game back from a five-week injury absence.

The Heat led by 10 points in the first half and took a 49-45 lead into the break, but the Jazz quickly erased that in the third quarter.

Hayward put Utah ahead 54-53 with a 3-pointer.

The teams went back and forth the rest of the quarter until Hayward scored the final four points to give the Jazz a 72-68 lead after three quarters.

Backup small forward Joe Ingles hit two 3-pointers early in the fourth to help Utah establish a seven-point lead, and the Jazz kept the Heat at bay after that.

"They did a much better job on defense," Bosh said. "They figured some things out and made some adjustments. I think our ball movement stopped just a little bit. ... We just did not hold the fort on defense tonight."

NOTES: Because of injuries to G Alec Burks (leg) and G Rodney Hood (ankle), the Jazz were limited to three healthy wings. Utah was also without injured PF Derrick Favors (back spasms). ... G Dwyane Wade was asked on Twitter this week who he thinks is the most underrated player in the NBA. Wade's response: "Alec Burks for Utah. He's out right now, but he can play." ... Miami coach Erik Spoelstra credited veteran F/C Amar'e Stoudemire for giving the Heat a nice boost in his playing opportunities. "He's been giving us good minutes and they don't necessarily show up in the box score -- the impact that he's had," Spoelstra said. "But (Friday in Phoenix), it was on the defensive end and he saved that possession." ... These teams are loaded with former Duke players: Utah's Rodney Hood, Jazz coaches Quin Snyder and Antonio Lang and Heat players Luol Deng, Josh McRoberts and Justise Winslow.

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