MIAMI (AP) — When Miami traded Mario Chalmers earlier this week, Heat President Pat Riley decided it was time for a chat with reserve guard Tyler Johnson.READ MORE: NBA fines Miami Heat $25,000 for violating 'bench decorum'
Riley’s message was short and sweet.
“Now, it’s on,” Riley said. “That’s what I said to him: ‘Game on. You’re not the third guard now.’ And we have every confidence in him.”
Johnson keeps showing why that’s the case.
Chris Bosh led the way with 25 points, and Johnson capped his 17-point night with two key field goals in the final 1:48 as the Heat topped the Utah Jazz 92-91 on Thursday night for their third straight win to open a seven-game homestand.
“Tyler is awesome,” Bosh said. “He can play. He’s had a great camp, he comes in and he works hard every day, works on his weaknesses, goes out there and lays it on the line and competes. He’s literally started from the bottom and worked his way up into playing a very huge role for this team.”
Goran Dragic finished with 14 points and Hassan Whiteside grabbed 14 rebounds for Miami, which started the game on a 9-0 run and opened the fourth quarter with a 13-4 spurt.
Derrick Favors led Utah with 25 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocks. Gordon Hayward had 24 points and 11 rebounds and Alec Burks added 24 — the last of those a 3-pointer as time expired — for the Jazz.
“You want to win, but at the same time to get the effort that we got tonight you can’t be too upset with some of the performances that some of our guys gave,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “You can be upset with the result.”
Miami played without Dwyane Wade, who was excused for a family emergency. His son Zion needed hospitalization for undisclosed reasons, with the team only saying he would be fine. Bosh gave it away with a get-well-soon message to the boy in a postgame televised interview.
The Heat were without Wade’s backup at shooting guard, with Gerald Green missing his sixth straight game and second of a two-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team stemming from an incident last week.
Utah was without starting center Rudy Gobert, the NBA’s No. 3 shot-blocker coming into the game, who has a sprained left ankle.
“We got some really good looks tonight,” Hayward said. “We just weren’t able to knock them down. For whatever reason they didn’t fall. The good news is we got the shots we wanted.”READ MORE: Man faces several charges including pointing laser at BSO aviation unit
The game featured the NBA’s top two scoring defenses from the early going this season. Utah came in giving up 89.7 points per game on just under 41 percent shooting; the Heat came in giving up 90.1 points on just over 41 percent shooting.
And without Gobert to protect the rim, the Heat took advantage by shooting 47 percent.
“I saw two very competitive, physical, gritty teams getting after it,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “This was a throwback game to the ’90s, just how physical it was, both teams committed to making it tough for the other team offensively.”
Jazz: Hayward averaged 11.2 points in his first six games against the Heat; he’s averaged 23.7 points in three games against Miami since. … This is Utah’s first two-game slide this season. … The Jazz missed 11 of their first 12 3-point attempts and finished 4-for-17.
Heat: Bosh has a 3-pointer in all nine games this season. … Of the nine players Miami used, only Bosh played in the 2014 NBA Finals. … Miami is 4-0 against the Western Conference. … Beno Udrih, acquired in the Chalmers trade to Memphis, scored two points in 18 minutes in his Miami debut.
Utah and Miami changed their starting lineups for the first time this season. Trey Lyles took Gobert’s place in the opening lineup for the Jazz. For Miami, Josh Richardson started in Wade’s place.
The Heat have honored soldiers — many still active — before games for years. Thursday’s ceremony had a slightly different feel, given the honoree was World War II veteran, Cpl. Joseph Spoto. The former U.S. Marine recently turned 93.
Jazz: Visit Orlando on Friday.
Heat: Host Minnesota on Tuesday.MORE NEWS: Miami ex-Proud Boys leader Henry 'Enrique' Tarrio to stay jailed until Capitol riot trial
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