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MIAMI - The Utah Jazz simply ran out of gas. Playing their fifth road game in eight days, the Jazz sputtered and stalled somewhere between Orlando and Miami resulting in a lackluster 80-70 loss to the Heat.
The Jazz had a chance to return home from their annual pre-Christmas east coast road swing with a winning record, but couldn't find their legs against a mediocre Miami Heat team; evident by 20 turnovers and multiple missed layups.
"A lot of (turnovers) were careless; being careless with the ball; not being in the right places on offense," said Jazz point guard Deron Williams, who again led the Jazz with 18 points and six assists. "They were pressing us and we were trying to hide behind them. We've got to do a better job of getting open."
Little did we know, but Jazz center Mehmet Okur's first seven minutes of the game were a microcosm of the type of game the Jazz played. Before coming out for Paul Millsap with 4:56 left in the first quarter, Okur was 0-2 from the field with three turnovers and a personal foul.
Okur finished the night with nine points on 2-8 shooting and four turnovers.
"I'm surprised we shouldn't be better this team is a better basketball team than we've shown," said Jazz Head Coach Jerry Sloan. "We get out on the road and it is like a chore for us to play."
In fact, the starting from court for the Jazz (Okur, Carlos Boozer and C.J. Miles) shot a dismal 9-31 (29 percent); this even after Boozer started the game 5-6, scoring the Jazz' first 12 points. Boozer was the only other Jazzman in double figures; finishing the night with 14 points.
Utah only had 30 points at halftime and the 70 total points are more than 31 less than the Jazz average per game.
As a team the Jazz shot a paltry 37.5 percent from the field, hit only two of 11 three pointers and missed seven of 21 free throws.
"We had a good, spirited practice yesterday and I thought we would come out and put a lot more energy in to it and try to win the game ," said Sloan. "There were opportunities out there for us to put things together and try to win the game, but we never put anything together and try to compete against them."
Like Sloan, Williams felt the Jazz had their chances, but seemed to sputter in the third quarter, when Dwayne Wade took over the ballgame and the Heat outscored the Jazz by twelve. Wade finished the night with 29 points, 10 in the third period.
"You can use excuses (to describe the third quarter collapse), but you got to want it more than that," said Williams. "I think it is more mental than physical. We're ready to go home, but you want to try to win before you go home."
The Jazz finished the road trip 2-3 and now get a three day reprieve through Christmas before hosting the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday.
Williams put it succinctly, "We forget about this one, have a good Christmas and come back."