SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Matt Harpring's chance at tying his career
high bounced off his fingertips and into the stands.
It was fine with Harpring, who gladly took a 31-point night as
the Utah Jazz climbed seven games above .500 for the first time
this season by beating the Miami Heat 92-76 Friday night.
"I know, but oh well,'' Harpring said of the pass from Andrei
Kirilenko that would have led to a layup late in the fourth
Harpring was 13-for-19, including 2-for-3 on 3-pointers. The Jazz
shot 51.5 percent (34-for-66) while winning for the ninth time in
"There is no question we can be a great team this year,'' said
Harpring, who signed with the Jazz as a free agent last summer. "I
don't think a lot of people thought that we could, especially at
Karl Malone added 19 points, six rebounds and four assists and
John Stockton finished with nine assists for the Jazz, who have won
four straight against the Heat.
Utah let a 21-point lead slip to three in the second half, but
held on for the win.
"You get yourself in a situation where you get too casual in
two or three plays, (then) there they are,'' Utah coach Jerry Sloan
said. "They would stay on top of you and make you try to earn
everything you got. These are learning situations if you want to
Miami has lost five straight and closes a five-game road trip
Sunday at the Los Angeles Lakers.
"We just got off to a horrible start again,'' Miami coach Pat
Riley said. "We show a lot of resolve and play as hard as we can,
but we just make too many mistakes.''
Caron Butler had 19 points and 11 rebounds to lead Miami, which
was playing its fourth straight game without leading scorer Eddie
Jones (sprained ankle).
Miami opened the game 5-for-21 from the floor and couldn't
recover against the Jazz, who were 34-for-66 in the game.
Rasual Butler scored 18, Brian Grant had 16 points and seven
rebounds and Sean Lampley scored 13 for the Heat, who trailed 51-37
at halftime but made their first four shots of the third quarter to
get back in it.
Miami cut the lead to three points twice in the third, but after
a layup by Malik Allen made it 58-55, Utah pulled comfortably ahead
again with a 7-0 run. Stockton and Calbert Cheaney each hit jumpers
and Harpring was wide open for a 3-pointer that made it 65-55 with
"He's fitting in great. He's tough and he battles,'' Stockton
said of Harpring. "He finds ways to make us better.''
The Heat stayed within 11 until Harpring hit another 3-pointer
with about 5 minutes to go that put the Jazz up 82-70, then after a
steal Harpring added a layup to put the Jazz up by 14 with 4:35
"We made a run,'' Grant said. "We did in the third quarter,
then they just started it right back up again.''
The game got a little chippy from there after Harpring was
called for a technical foul for arguing a call and Malone got
tripped up while running down the court, but nothing developed.
The Heat were scoreless for the final 4:24 of the first
quarter. ... Malone went down hard and landed on his back late in
the first quarter while driving to the basket against Allen. Allen
was called for a foul and Malone went 1-for-2 from the line to give
the Jazz a 26-12 lead after the first quarter. ... The Jazz were
21-for-37 in the first half (56.8 percent). ... Utah has won four
straight at home.