SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Jazz forward Gordon Hayward had no particular plans to shoulder a heavier load with the team short-handed and dressing only three wing players due to injury Saturday night. It just happened to work out that way.
Hayward scored a season-high 34 points and Utah beat the Miami Heat 98-83 to break a three-game losing streak.
“Once I saw a couple go in, the basket opened up and I was able to get some more,” Hayward said. “I knew I needed to be aggressive throughout the game. I was turning the ball over so much (early), I might as well throw it at the rim. Would’ve been better than giving them the ball. Just an aggressive mindset.”
Hayward came out of the locker room after a passive first half and scored 18 points in the third quarter, including nine in a row to give the Jazz a 68-60 lead. Utah outscored the Heat 27-19 in the period.
The Heat got as close as four in the fourth, but a late 6-0 run pushed the lead back to 88-78.
“It’s a really good win for our team,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “We’ve talked about trying to get better throughout whatever challenges we have with injury and fatigue on back-to-backs and playing through adversity.
“I think our players could’ve been down. And we just tried to maintain the strength of character as a group and not let those things affect us. That’s a credit to our players. … I’m not sure I could do what they’re doing right now.”
Dwyane Wade was held to eight points on 3-for-17 shooting.
The Heat shot just 30.4 percent from the field after halftime.
“Hayward really got it going and they read our schemes and what we were doing defensively,” Wade said, “and they did a great job getting the things they needed from our schemes.”
Miami jumped out to a 29-19 lead at the end of the first quarter thanks to 11 points from Dragic.
A pair of baskets by Burke spurred a 9-2 Jazz run at the beginning of the second quarter that cut the Heat lead to three, but Miami responded with a 6-0 spurt itself and took a 49-45 lead into halftime.
“They started making some shots. The pick-6s and those turnovers really gave them some life,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “They made big shots when they need to. Extra possessions, all that stuff they were able to get and we weren’t able to stop the avalanche in the last 6 minutes.”
Heat: It was the second of a six-game road trip for the Heat. Their current stretch includes 12 of 14 games on the road. Twelve road games this month is the franchise record for January. … Miami shot 55.6 percent in the first half. … Wade hurt his shoulder in the third quarter, but was able to return to the game. He’ll be evaluated further by the Miami medical staff.
Jazz: Utah shot 51.4 percent from the field in the first half. … Trevor Booker went to the locker room late in the first half. He returned for the second half. … Chris Johnson started his first game of the year and scored a season-high 14 points.