Utah Jazz lose to Miami Heat in all too familiar fashion — on a last-second 3

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Utah Jazz guard Collin Sexton (2) is fouled by Miami Heat guard Victor Oladipo, left, as forward Duncan Robinson (55) watches during the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022, in Salt Lake City.

George Frey, Associated Press

Another day, another dagger 3 downing the Utah Jazz.  

The Jazz’s calendar year did not conclude as the team might have hoped Saturday night at Vivint Arena when the Miami Heat’s Tyler Herro drilled a 3 as time expired, helping his team defeat the Jazz 126-123.

With 6.3 seconds to play, Miami’s aptly named shooting guard dribbled the ball up three-quarters of the court before leaping, falling forward, and taking and making the game-altering shot.  

“Credit to Tyler, he’s a heck of a player and that was an incredible shot,” Jazz coach Will Hardy said moments after Herro’s buzzer-beater. “Six seconds, full court, in the bonus there’s not a whole lot you can do.”

Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro (14) and center Bam Adebayo (13) celebrate Herro’s game-winning shot at the end of the team’ NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz, Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022, in Salt Lake City.

George Frey, Associated Press

It marked the second straight night that the Jazz found themselves on the wrong end of a game-winning 3. The defeat continues Utah’s winless week and pushes its losing streak to four games.

“It’s tough,” said Jordan Clarkson, who was covering Herro when he made his final shot. “It’s two games, two nights in a row we kind of lose it in the last seconds of regulation.” 

The Jazz returned to Vivint Arena fresh off a difficult three-game road trip that saw them go 0-3 in five days, their last setback coming against the Kings and ending similarly to Saturday’s contest with the Heat.

The three consecutive road defeats marked the first time on the season that the team had not held a winning record.

After Saturday, Utah hit a new low. 

Both the Jazz and the Heat found themselves at a .500 winning percentage coming into Saturday’s contest. However, Utah begins the new year with its first sub-.500 record of the season. 

The four straight losses drop the Jazz to 6-9 in December and give Utah its sixth defeat in the last eight tries. 

When asked about what it will take to get back on track, Lauri Markkanen said, “Just staying together. That’s the only way we can climb out of it.”

Utah stuck together down the stretch against Miami. Facing a five-point deficit, with under 15 seconds to play, the Jazz came back and tied things up in just 7.9 seconds.

Jordan Clarkson made three free throws before Victor Oladipo, who was moved from questionable to available Saturday evening, had a chance to end the game from the free-throw line with 13.2 seconds to play. Despite having an impressive game as one of three Heat players to score 20-plus points, Oladipo split his pair of free throws and left the door open for the Jazz who trailed by only three. 

Markkanen took advantage of the opportunity, scoring three free throws to tie the game moments before Herro’s shot.

“I think our defense in the second half was much better than the first half,” Hardy said. “Our physicality really stepped up. We put ourselves in a position to take the game to overtime.”

Markkanen led the Jazz in scoring for a fourth straight game and the seventh time in the team’s last eight games. The budding star finished the game with 29 points, his final three coming from the line.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra praised Markkanen pregame. “Last year, he had a major role on a playoff team,” Spoelstra said. “Here (in Utah) he’s just getting a lot more opportunities, and I think Will and the coaching staff have just infused a great deal of confidence in him.”

Despite another good performance from Markkanen the Jazz fell short again; however, they feel they can bounce back.

“We have a great group of guys,” Markkanen said. “Everybody’s still working together; still having fun playing. … We’ve got to figure out a way to get those wins down the stretch. I’m still confident in our team and what we’re doing.” 

The Jazz will get a chance to right the ship after the new year with two days off before welcoming the Kings to Salt Lake Tuesday. Utah lost to Sacramento Friday by one point in the two teams’ first meeting of the season. 

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