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SALT LAKE CITY — When Dwyane Wade checked in midway through the first quarter, most of the fans at Vivint Arena gave him a standing ovation. It was Wade’s final game in Utah and the fans wanted to show their respects.
By the end of the night, it was the Jazz that were being given the standing ovation. Albeit from a much smaller crowd. See, most of the fans had left before the final buzzer on Wednesday because the game's outcome was decided early.
Utah scored 40 points in the first quarter on its way to a dominant 111-84 win over the Heat at Vivint Arena.
The Jazz got a superb two-way performance from Donovan Mitchell, who scored a game-high 21 points.
They got great bench performances from Derrick Favors (17 points on 7-of-8 shooting) and Kyle Korver (16 points).
And they had one of the most dominant defensive performances of the season. The Heat had 15 points after the first quarter, 33 at halftime and shot just 37.7 percent on the night. Utah led by 39 points after the third and the fourth quarter was only academic at the point.
“A lot of the times we get kind of stagnant,” Mitchell said. “We just kept moving the ball on offense and just kept playing defense.”
Utah jumped out to a 13-0 lead and led by 25 points after the end of the first quarter. The Jazz also saw some early success the last time they played the Heat just 10 days ago, only to see Miami come storming back. There was no such answer this time.
“I thought the first unit did a great job setting the tone for the game,” Korver said. “And we needed it after the last couple. … We played good basketball.”
With the Heat playing without Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside, the Jazz were heavy favorites on Wednesday. And they looked the part.
Favors was fantastic off the bench, scoring his 17 points in just 19 minutes. And Korver made everyone forget about his recent shooting slump by breaking out to hit four 3-pointers.
The Jazz shot 52.6 percent from the field and 50 percent (16-of-32 from 3-point range).
“I thought tonight as a team, we shot the ball well, but it started with defense,” Korver said. “It started with energy.”
The Heat didn't score until the 7:35 mark of the first quarter.
Before the game, Wade said he wanted to give the fans a little bit of a show in his final game in Salt Lake City. And while his stats weren’t great (six points, two assists in 19 minutes), he did have some moments where he looked like his old self.
He had two moves to the basket in the second quarter that looked like young Wade. On one, he shook Ricky Rubio before getting fouled going to the basket. On another, Wade Euro-stepped into the paint, but missed the shot.
“Some games I’ve probably been able to give them more than they thought and some games I probably didn’t give them enough,” Wade said laughing. “But I just try to come out here and do my job as well, but also enjoy it and be appreciative and be thankful of the support that I’m getting.”
Not to be outdone on his home court, Mitchell put on his own little show in the third.
Mitchell caught the ball in transition and turned Josh Richardson around on a crossover on his way to a layup. Later, Mitchell did nearly the same thing — this time to Rodney McGruder — on his way to midrange jumper.
Those weren’t the only highlights from Mitchell. The young Jazz star had one of his most complete games of the year. He was active and focused on defense and he was controlled on offense, going 9-for-17 from the field.
“I just wanted to go out there and just be aggressive and find ways — not think, just play,” Mitchell said.
And that play ended up leading to a good night for the Jazz and their home crowd. So good, the fans decided to give Wade one last rousing applause as he left the court — but not before they gave the home team one.
“It’s an honor to share the court with a player like that,” Favors said of Wade. “But at the same time, we have a job to do.”