MIAMI (AP) -- Dwyane Wade's easiest shot of the game was a
wide-open layup in transition. He missed.
Yet when the pressure was at its peak, Wade came through and
delivered both a victory and the best performance of his young
career. He capped a career-high 39-point night with a jumper over
Raja Bell at the overtime buzzer, giving the Miami Heat a 107-105
victory over the Utah Jazz on Friday night.
Wade had 23 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, plus hit
two free throws with 1 second left in regulation just to get Miami
into the extra session.
"I always go through a stretch where I play bad, and I go
through a stretch where I play good," Wade said. "That's the
difference between this year and last year. Now I know it's going
to happen like that, so I continue to stay focused. My team needs
me down the stretch to make plays."
Clearly, Shaquille O'Neal knew what he was talking about when he
pronounced Wade as Miami's leader long before the season started.
Wade made 12 of his 22 shots; the rest of the Heat shot 42.2
percent. And from the line, Wade was 15-for-21 -- while the rest of
the Heat were a stunning 7-for-23.
"We had to fight through a lot tonight ... but we still won,"
said O'Neal, who had his fifth double-double of the season, 22
points and 11 rebounds -- but missed eight of his 10 tries from the
Eddie Jones added 17 points for the Heat, which beat a Western
Conference opponent for the first time in four tries this season.
Carlos Boozer had 25 points and nine rebounds for Utah, which
led by nine in the fourth quarter. Carlos Arroyo -- who played his
college ball at Miami's Florida International University, as did
Bell -- had 18 points, including two free throws with 4.5 seconds
left in overtime to tie the game at 105.
"I thought we did a pretty good job to finish the game," Utah
coach Jerry Sloan said. "I thought we should have won the game in
regulation. ... The kid stepped up and made a great shot. That's
what great players do."
After Arroyo tied the game for the 18th and final time, Miami
called a clear-out play for Wade, who crossed Bell over, stopped
and watched his jumper rattle several times off the rim before
"I watched it play with me, play with my emotions," Wade said.
Said Bell: "Not an easy job. ... I know I didn't guard him as
well as I could."
Bell had 17 points, and Andrei Kirilenko had 16 points and 12
rebounds for Utah, which outrebounded Miami 52-41. The Jazz also
made 44 of 52 free throws, compared to 22 of 44 by the Heat -- who
simply turned the game over to Wade in crunch time.
"I don't think we were tricking anybody down the stretch,"
Heat coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We just put other people in
different spots because I need to look like I'm doing something. I
don't want it to look like it's all Dwyane. Then we gave him the
ball and he went to work -- which I thought was pretty effective."
A wild, back-and-forth final minute of regulation was the
prelude to overtime. Miami went up 88-85 on Damon Jones' 3-pointer
with 43.6 seconds left, but Utah tied it on Boozer's 3-point play
8.1 seconds later.
Then, after Kirilenko stripped Wade on Miami's next possession,
O'Neal fouled Arroyo 25 feet from the basket with 4.8 seconds left.
Arroyo made both foul shots to give Utah a 90-88 lead, but
Kirilenko was called for hitting Wade's hand on a jumper with 1.0
"A great call," Wade said, grinning.
Utah shot only 32.5 percent in the first half, yet ended the
opening two quarters with a 40-39 lead -- despite missing 13 of its
final 14 shots.
Miami's offense also sputtered badly in the first half; the Heat
missed 16 of 20 shots in one stretch, but rallied and connected on
52.2 percent from the floor after halftime, including a 5-for-8
showing from 3-point range.
Miami is 10-26 all-time against Utah. ... Utah was without
F Matt Harpring (bruised knee); Harpring missed 17 of 19 shots and
averaged only 3 points in the last four Jazz games. ... The NBA has
switched two Heat games, eliminating a possible conflict if the
Philadelphia Eagles host the NFC title game. Miami will host New
Orleans Jan. 23 instead of visiting Philadelphia; they'll now go
there Jan. 24. ... Boozer arrived at the arena wearing a Jeremy
Shockey jersey; Shockey, the New York Giants' tight end, played his
college ball at Miami. ... Damon Jones has made at least one
3-pointer in all 10 Miami games.