MIAMI (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – The Miami Heat are in the midst of a long homestand that has been going well so far.
The Utah Jazz watched their league-best defense take a hit in a 118-114 loss at Cleveland that started a four-game road trip on Tuesday.
The Jazz will try to lock down on that end again when they continue the trip at Miami on Thursday.
Utah (89.7) and Miami (90.1) entered Wednesday first and second in the NBA in points allowed, and the Jazz are hoping to quickly turn the page after allowing the Cavaliers to shoot 50 percent from the field.
“We have to understand that it’s one game of the road trip and that we have three games left,” Utah forward Gordon Hayward told reporters. “We know that Miami’s a good team, a team full of veterans who know how to win games.”
Those veterans helped the Heat win the first two games of the homestand while allowing an average of 82 points to the Toronto Raptors and Los Angeles Lakers.
Miami and Utah feature two of the best defensive centers in the league in Hassan Whiteside and Rudy Gobert, who both rank in the top three in the league in blocked shots.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, ROOT (Utah), Sun Sports (Miami)
ABOUT THE JAZZ (4-3): Tuesday’s loss marked only the second time this season that Utah allowed an opponent to score more than 92 points, but the team was still pleased with its effort on the other end of the floor.
“You tend to get rattled, but we kept playing and it was good,” coach Quin Snyder told reporters. “It was a good effort from our group.”
The offensive outburst marked the first time the Jazz have scored in triple digits this season, and six players scored at least 15 points in the road trip opener.
ABOUT THE HEAT (5-3): Whiteside is proving that his out-of-nowhere second half last season was no fluke and is averaging 15.3 points, 11.4 rebounds and 3.9 blocks early in his first full season as a starting center.
Whiteside’s presence has allowed Chris Bosh to move out of the middle and back into more work as a power forward, and the All-Star is responding with at least 20 points in each of the last three games.
Bosh and Whiteside combined for 49 points and 26 rebounds in a 101-88 win over the Lakers on Tuesday.
- Gobert (ankle) left Tuesday’s game in the fourth quarter but expects to play on Thursday.
- Heat F Jarnell Stokes and G Beno Udrih, who were acquired in a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday, are questionable to make their debut.
- The visiting team took each of the two matchups last season.
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