The Miami Heat and Utah Jazz were on top of the NBA standings about a week ago, but have struggled just a little bit recently. Both teams are hoping to bounce back after their respective stinging losses when they meet on Saturday at the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City.
The Miami Heat are coming off three straight losses to three elite Western Conference teams in a span of a few days. It could be a fourth one if they don’t stop Utah Jazz from imposing their will on their home floor.
After racing to a quick start to the NBA season, the Utah Jazz are just 1-3 in their last four games, including their first home loss against the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers game saw three Jazz players tossed out after the Rudy Gobert and Myles Turner altercation. If one or more of the ejected players face suspension, Utah will be in deep trouble.
Saturday’s game between the Miami Heat and Utah Jazz will be their second meeting this season. The first time they met, the Heat held off a late Jazz rally to win 118-115. It promises to be another exciting matchup between two scrappy and defense-oriented teams who are looking to regain their bearings.
Fixture: Miami Heat vs Utah Jazz | 2021-22 NBA season
Date & Time: Saturday, November 13th; (Sunday, November 14th; 3:30 AM IST)
Venue: Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
Miami Heat Preview
The Miami Heat are suddenly looking human. Erick Spoelstra’s team held a 7-2 record after winning against the Utah Jazz the last time they faced each other. They looked like juggernauts, particularly on defense. Since then, they have lost three in a row against the Denver Nuggets, the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers.
Miami was right there in the final seconds of their defeat against two L.A. teams without Jimmy Butler for much of the two games. Butler sprained his ankle in the first half against the Lakers and the Miami Heat struggled a little bit without Jimmy Buckets on the roster.
The five-time All-Star could be set for a return against the Utah Jazz, which would greatly enhance the Miami Heat’s chances of ending their three-game slump.
Key Player - Bam Adebayo
If Jimmy Butler sits out the game against the Utah Jazz, Bam Adebayo would be the key player for the Miami Heat. In their disastrous loss to Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets, Adebayo tallied a triple-double of 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
The last two losses against the Lakers and Clippers showed Adebayo’s worth to the Miami Heat. He averaged 29 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2 assists and an eye-popping 3.5 steals in those two games. Whether Rudy Gobert plays or not, he will be a central figure in the Heat’s offensive and defensive sets against the Utah Jazz.
Miami Heat Predicted Lineup
G - Kyle Lowry | G - Tyler Herro | F - Duncan Robinson | F - P.J. Tucker | C - Bam Adebayo
Utah Jazz Preview
Just a week ago, the Utah Jazz led the NBA in defensive rating over the Miami Heat. Since then, they have dropped to No. 9 in that statistic. They have been horrible on defense the last five games where they posted a 113.3 rating. That defensive rating in the last five games is easily the worst in the league.
The Utah Jazz have been a defensive machine in the past few seasons. Defense is where they hang their hats on to get into the postseason. If their defense fails, they unsurprisingly struggle. Their last five games, where defense is concerned, is so uncharacteristic of the Jazz.
Following Rudy Gobert’s scuffle with Myles Turner, the three-time Defensive Player of the Year awardee could be suspended. Without the imposing Frenchman practically covering the entire shaded lane, the Utah Jazz could be in for a long night.
Key Player - Donovan Mitchell
Stopping Donovan Mitchell is one of the surest ways to win against the Utah Jazz. The problem is, it’s simply just too hard to consistently put a lid on his scoring or playmaking. The two-time All-Star is currently averaging 25.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 5.2 assists a game. Mitchell is also hitting 55.1% of his true shooting percentage.
These numbers, in five years of playing for the Utah Jazz, have been so consistent that the 25-year old shooter is often overlooked. In a conference that has Stephen Curry, LeBron James and Luka Doncic, Mitchell’s value has almost always been underrated. The Jazz do not think so as the team will only go as far as he can take them.
Utah Jazz Predicted Lineup
G - Mike Conley | G - Donovan Mitchell | F - Bojan Bogdanovic | F - Roye O’Neale | C - Hassan Whiteside
Heat vs Jazz Match Prediction
The outcome of the match between the Miami Heat and the Utah Jazz could be decided by two players who could miss the game. Miami’s Jimmy Butler and Utah’s Rudy Gobert could be sidelined for different reasons in this encounter.
The Utah Jazz have a defensive rating of 106.6 since the team drafted Rudy Gobert in the 2013-2014 season. This average jumps to 111.4 when he sits out for some reason. He is a certified difference-maker, particularly against the Miami Heat.
In the same manner, the Heat could find themselves looking stagnant again without Jimmy Butler’s considerable influence on both sides of the ball. Butler’s importance has been magnified in the Miami Heat’s last two losses.
Supposing both All-Stars are unable to play, the Utah Jazz’s depth could just enable them to eke out a win.
Where to watch Heat vs Jazz
NBA TV will cover the matchup between the Miami Heat and Utah Jazz live nationally. The NBA League Pass will also stream the game live. For local coverage, AT&T SportsNetwork and Bally Sports Sun will air the encounter as it happens.