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Williams, Burke lift Jazz past Heat 94-89
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Marvin Williams has been so hot the last three games that he didn’t let an air ball bother him.
With Utah leading by seven in the fourth quarter against the reigning NBA champs, the Jazz forward released a 22-foot jumper that wasn’t close.
“I can’t think of a bigger win than this one,” said Williams, who scored 23 points.
Rookie Trey Burke, who had 13 points, rose up and drained the clutch 19-foot jump shot to beat the shot clock and Gordon Hayward’s free throw clinched the win for the Jazz, who have beat the Heat at home three straight times.
Burke has said he hit the classic rookie “wall” that often plagues first-year players after they’ve played 35-40 games. Shooting just over 30 percent the past three games, his teammates and coaches have encouraged him to keep shooting.
“They come to me and tell me to play with confidence. ‘Don’t think about it. Just play freely.’ That’s what I did tonight,” said Burke, who had a penchant for big shots as the AP Player of the Year at Michigan last season.
Dwyane Wade had 19 points for the Heat, who missed their last four shots from the field to thwart their comeback bid. LeBron James was 4 of 13 from the field for 13 points, his lowest scoring total since he had 13 points in a 104-88 win over Atlanta on Nov. 19.
Hayward nearly had his first triple-double with nine points, 11 assists and nine rebounds, while often guarding Wade and James. Richard Jefferson had 14 and Alec Burks had 12 points for the Jazz, who snapped their four-game losing streak in front of a frenzied crowd.
James subbed in with 7:54 to play and his team trailing 77-70 and the Heat looked poised for a comeback as they also reached the penalty with 6:51 to play. But James missed his only two field goal attempts of the fourth quarter and was 2 of 4 from the line.
The young Jazz, who entered the game with worst record in the Western Conference, relied on their two veterans down the stretch until Burke’s big shot.
Williams, who averages 9.9 points, has scored 67 points in his last three games and made 5 of 8 from beyond the arc in this one.
After his air ball, Williams made a pair of 3-pointers - the last shot just beating the shot clock after Jefferson dove to the floor to gather a loose ball and flip it to Utah’s hot hand.
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