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Jazz fall at the buzzer on Tyler Herro's 'incredible' shot

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SALT LAKE CITY — In a matter of seconds, Utah Jazz fans' joy turned to suffering.

Lauri Markkanen hit three free throws to tie the game with 6.3 seconds to complete an unlikely comeback from 5 points down with under 20 seconds to go.

The Miami Heat didn't have a timeout, which meant overtime seemed almost like a sure thing. Except no one told Tyler Herro.

The Miami guard dribbled full court and then hit a running 3-pointer over three Jazz defenders as the buzzer sounded to give Miami a 126-123 win over Utah.

It was simply one of the more difficult game-winners. Jordan Clarkson made him change directions, Collin Sexton came out to meet him, and Markkanen was there to help contest the shoot as Herro let the shot go.

Herro just made a very difficult shot.

"Incredible shot," said Clarkson, almost giving a shrug when asked if there was anything the Jazz could have done differently on the drive.

"I think there were three guys contesting them," added Markkanen. "And so it's a tough shot by him."

As for coach Will Hardy, he was happy with the defense on the final play. He liked how Clarkson made Herro pick up the ball; he liked how the Jazz didn't leave anyone open full court; he liked how his players converged to contest when it was clear Herro was going to take the shot; and, most importantly, he liked that his team didn't foul.

Everything was good — except for the result.

"Six seconds, full court, in the bonus, there's not a whole lot you can do because the worst play in the game would have been bumping him going full court on the dribble," Hardy said. "Jordan turned him and made him hesitate again in the backcourt. Collin showed help and then pulled his hands back as Tyler picked up in between both of them and shot a one-foot, very-contested runner. Yeah, that's an incredible play."

It was the fourth straight loss for the Jazz, who have dropped all four games by a combined 13 points. During that stretch, the Jazz missed free throws, missed shots, and missed rebounds. On Saturday, it was a shot at the buzzer.

What made Saturday even more demoralizing was Herro's shot came just when Utah looked to have slayed a late-game demon that cost it in losses to Golden State and Sacramento this week. That demon? Late-game free throws.

The Jazz hit six straight from the free-throw line to take advantage of two lifelines when the Heat fouled both Clarkson and Markkanen on 3-point attempts in the final 15 seconds.

The Jazz hit all six of them to quickly erase Miami's lead.

Markkanen's three free throws tied the game up at 123-123 with just over six seconds remaining — that was just enough time for Herro to work some magic.

The loss dropped Utah (19-20) under .500 for the first time this season.

Markkanen led the Jazz with 29 points and 14 rebounds. Clarkson had 22 points and five assists in the loss.

Utah fell behind by 10 points in the second quarter, but upped its defensive intensity in the second half — led by a pretty stalwart performance by rookie Walker Kessler. After struggling a bit in the first half, Kessler helped the Jazz go on a 9-0 run in their third quarter to take the lead. The Jazz outscored the Heat by 8 points when Kessler was on the court; he finished with 5 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks.

"We just communicated much better and we were far more physical making those guys work," Hardy said.

But in the end, it was a replay of the Jazz's previous three games. Utah had a chance at the end but couldn't find a win.

"I'm incredibly proud of our resolve and our team's ability to maintain poise and competitiveness in tough moments," Hardy said. " … We put ourselves in a position to take the game to overtime but credit to Tyler, he's a heck of a player and that was an incredible shot."

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