MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – It’s been a year full of adjustments for the Miami Heat and their fans.
After winning 69 of their 82 games at American Airlines Arena over the previous two seasons, home has not been kind to the Heat so far in 2014-15.
The Heat will try to reverse that trend and gain some semblance of a home court advantage during a season-high seven-game stay in Miami beginning Wednesday night against the slumping Utah Jazz.
Miami (12-13) has lost three in a row and six of its last seven home games to fall to 4-7 in South Beach. The Heat, who beat lowly Charlotte by one point at home Nov. 23, shot a season-worst 35.0 percent in a 93-75 home loss to Chicago on Sunday.
They rebounded with a 95-91 win at Brooklyn on Tuesday and did so without Chris Bosh, who is out indefinitely with a strained calf. Bosh leads the team with 21.6 points and 8.2 rebounds per game this season.
“To me this is one of the most gratifying wins of the season,” Dwyane Wade said. “To be able to pull it out shows a lot of character and toughness.”
The Heat will also be without Josh McRoberts, who may miss the remainder of the season after tearing his right meniscus Dec. 9 at Phoenix. McRoberts had averaged 4.2 points and 2.6 rebounds in more than 17 minutes per game.
Utah (6-19) has lost 12 of 13 and provides a good starting point for Miami on a homestand that features a Christmas Day matchup with LeBron James and Cleveland. The Jazz have also dropped six straight on the road after Tuesday’s 119-111 loss at New Orleans.
Enes Kanter had one of his best games of the season with 29 points on 12-of-22 shooting. Gordon Hayward added 17 points, while Alec Burks and Trey Burke had 16 apiece for the Jazz, who shot 50 percent from the field for the second time in four games, but allowed the Pelicans to post a 59.5 mark, including 8 for 16 from behind the arc.
“I think there were so many good things about the way we played tonight,” coach Quin Snyder told Utah’s official site. “We really connected and had exchanges and possessions where we were able to execute a lot of the things we’ve been working on.”
With Miami’s inside presence thinned by injuries, the Heat – specifically Wade – could exploit Utah’s lackluster shooting defense. Wade has scored at least 25 points in six of his last 10 games, shooting 52 percent in that span. Tuesday’s loss was the tenth time this season the Jazz allowed a team to shoot better than 40 percent from 3-point range.
“I wanted to take it on my shoulders to be aggressive,” Wade said after scoring 28 points against the Nets. “We’re missing a big part of our team (Bosh) right now.”
While Wade had 29 points and seven assists in a 100-95 win Dec. 15 at Utah, the Heat relied heavily on Bosh, who had 22 points and nine rebounds while logging over 36 minutes.
The Jazz have found little success in Miami in recent years. Since 2004, Utah has lost nine of ten matchups, and it hasn’t shot better than 49 percent overall there since 1997.
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
[display-posts category=”heat” wrapper=”ul” posts_per_page=”5″]