MIAMI (SportsDirect Inc.) — The Miami Heat look to get their offense in gear and avoid a fourth consecutive loss when they host the Utah Jazz on Saturday night.READ MORE: Teen Seriously Hurt in Major Car Crash in Lauderhill
The Heat are averaging 89 points during the losing streak, have registered fewer than 100 in all five losses this season and could be without second-leading scorer Goran Dragic (ankle) against the improving Jazz – who are 3-1 on their five-game road trip.
“Well, this league is tough,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters after a 98-95 home loss to Chicago on Thursday. “I told our guys in the locker room we’re closer than it looks, than our schedule says it looks like. We’ve got to keep plugging away to get over the hump.”
Hassan Whiteside is averaging a double-double for the Heat and will face a challenge against Utah, which limited Orlando to 10 points in the fourth quarter Friday to rally for an 87-74 victory.
Gordon Hayward continues to put up solid numbers for the Jazz, coming within two assists of a triple-double against the Magic with 20 points and 10 boards.
Utah point guard George Hill, who is averaging 20.4 points, could miss his fourth straight game with a thumb injury.
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ABOUT THE JAZZ (6-4): Rodney Hood struggled through the first three quarters Friday, but came up with 11 of his 13 points in the final 12 minutes to spark the comeback for Utah. Hayward, who missed the first six games due to injury, is averaging 24.3 points since his return and forward Derrick Favors lifted his game after a slow start to the season while averaging 15.8 points the last four contests. Dante Exum and Shelvin Mack have taken most of the ballhandling duties with Hill out, averaging 14.7 points and three turnovers between them in the last three games.
ABOUT THE HEAT (2-5): Whiteside boasts six double-doubles in seven contests, notching his third career 20-point, 20-rebound game Thursday against the Bulls to push his averages to 17.9 and 14.7, respectively. Miami will have to get more from everyone if Dragic (16.3 points) can’t go and Dion Waiters heads the list after scoring 10.4 points per game and shooting 33 percent from the field the first seven games. Guard Tyler Johnson has upped his production while scoring in double figures in seven straight and averaging 14.4 points while Justise Winslow is scoring 12.3 per contest.
1. Utah C Rudy Gobert produced his fourth double-double of the season Friday and is averaging 9.7 points to go along with 10.6 boards.
2. The Heat entered Friday 28th in the league in scoring (96.1), but are still among the best defensive teams while allowing 98.
3. Hill, Hood and fellow G Joe Johnson are all shooting at least 42 percent from 3-point range.MORE NEWS: COVID In Florida: 3,231 New Cases, 33 Additional Deaths Reported Sunday
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