Our post-game report from Heat-Jazz tonight:
SALT LAKE CITY ---
This night, and this road trip, started so promisingly, with Miami winning Friday in Phoenix and the Heat storming to an early 10-point lead in Utah.
Ultimately, though, there was too much to overcome here Saturday --- a second-half eruption by Gordon Hayward, 54.9 percent Jazz shooting, too many turnovers and an off night from Dwyane Wade, who missed 14 of 17 shots.
This 98-83 loss dropped Miami to 22-15, and the road trip becomes substantially more difficult from here, with defending champion Golden State awaiting on Monday, the Clippers on Wednesday, and Oklahoma City on Sunday.
There’s also a game Friday at Denver, where the Heat traditionally struggles.
The second-half shooting told much of the story. Utah shot 21 for 36 after halftime, Miami 14 for 46.
This one turned on the Heat in the third quarter, with Utah shooting 11 for 17 in the period to transform a four-point halftime deficit into a 72-68 lead after three.
Much of the damage was done by Hayward, who scored 18 in the third, making eight of nine shots.
Hayward closed with 34 points, including 23 in the second half, finishing 14 of 22 from the field, offsetting 24 points from Chris Bosh.
“They read our schemes of what we were trying to do defensively,” Dwyane Wade said.
Making matters worse, Wade scored just eight, closing 3 of 17 from the field, including 1 for 11 in the second half.
He missed the final 6:08 of the third quarter with a strained left shoulder, an injury that required him to go to the locker-room.
Wade said he still doesn’t know what the exact injury is. "It's something that happened with a crossover."
Asked if he’s in discomfort, he said: “There were a few things I couldn’t do. I felt I was able to come back in.”
He said he will see how he feels Sunday before determining his availability for the Golden State game on Monday.
Meanwhile, Goran Dragic, who scored 14 in the first half, finished with only 16. He left just two minutes into the third quarter with his fourth foul --- then sat out for the equivalent of a quarter.
Erik Spoelstra said he could have brought Dragic back sooner than two minutes into the fourth quarter.
But “in hindsight, we were still in control of the game,” Spoelstra said. “I don’t know if it would have mattered.”
The Heat played much of the night against the league’s lowest-scoring starting backcourt of Chris Johnson and Raul Neto, who averaged just 7.7 points combined.
But Miami couldn’t capitalize; Wade and Dragic scored just five combined in the second half.
“I thought we got good shots,” Wade said. “Shots just didn’t go down.”
Also, Dragic and Wade each had four of Miami’s 17 turnovers, and the Heat shot just 41.5 percent from the field.
Luol Deng had another quiet night (2 for 6 shooting, five points). Hassan Whiteside, who received treatment on his bothersome right knee before the game, had 10 points and 11 rebounds but missed three of four free throws in the fourth quarter.
After the game, he said the knee is limiting his mobility “a little bit” but “I’m going to keep playing.”
The loss prevented the Heat from moving nine games above .500 for the first time and also dropped Miami into second place in the Southeast Division, one half game behind Atlanta. Utah (16-20) broke a three-game losing streak.
The Heat led 29-19 after a quarter, thanks to Dragic’s nine first-quarter points and 12 for 17 shooting. The game was then delayed two minutes when confetti slipped through what Jazz officials called a leaky roof.
“We came out with the right mentality and focus,” Wade said.
With Dragic in foul trouble and Tyler Johnson missing the game with his recurring shoulder injury, Beno Udrih was needed for 20 minutes.
Udrih, who entered with 29 assists and six turnovers in his past seven games, committed two turnovers and missed four of six shots.
As soon as Dragic left, Utah took its first lead since the first quarter, at 53-51. The Heat trailed by one when Wade left to the locker-room with his shoulder injury. Frustrated with the game’s turnaround, Spoelstra threw his clipboard to the floor.
The Jazz then went on a run before the Heat closed to within 72-68 after three. But the Jazz kept hitting shots, not only Hayward, but others. Joe Ingles’ two threes pushed Utah’s lead to 80-73 early in the fourth.
“Hayward was in a great rhythm, put us back on our heels quite a bit,” Bosh said.
Said Spoelstra: “They kept on scoring in bundles. [Hayward] is a saby scorer, off drivers, off movement, off pick and roll.”
### Johnson missed his ninth game with a strained left shoulder, an injury that has bothered him since December. But Erik Spoelstra and Johnson said the Heat will continue to treat the ailment with rest and rehabilitation, not a surgical procedure.
Johnson said having the arthroscopic surgery during the season has “crossed my mind” but deemed it unlikely, saying the condition has improved and he needs to give it rest when it flares up.
He said recovery time for surgery is two months. “It has gotten a lot better,” he said Saturday, expressing optimism he would play Monday at Golden State.
Johnson missed three games with the strained shoulder last month, returned for one, missed another five with the shoulder, then played in the past seven before again feeling discomfort in the shoulder Wednesday against the Knicks. He said it wasn’t smart to attempt to play through the injury Friday in Phoenix.
### Chris Andersen, who has played just 33 minutes all season, said he and Spoelstra have “had several conversations” but Andersen has not asked for a trade and said “we’re both understanding of what my role is…. I will embrace it…. I am a highly competitive warrior.”
The Heat would be interested in moving Andersen’s $5 million salary to substantially lessen its luxury tax burden. But the Heat hasn’t found a taker, and Andersen said he knows “it’s not personal.”
Highlights from the Adam Gase news conference (filed from Salt Lake City, where I'm covering the Heat today.)
### Steve Ross: "Adam Gase puts us in the best position to win Super Bowls. What I was looking for was the most intelligent person I could find with the greatest amount of passion, great energy, who will become a great leader.... We really have turned this franchise around.... No big prediction here. It will take time. I'm excited to have him. For a Michigan guy to hire a Michigan State guy to lead the organization, that tells you that you found the right guy.
"I talked to a lot of people who had familiarity with him. Heard a recurring theme: one of the brightest young guys out there. Adam's name always surfaced in the top of that. Hearing how the players who played under him felt about him and really felt this guy would be a great head coach and is ready. When you hire someone who's 37, people kind of question you. I'm a builder. Having young people with a passion; Adam in the long term was the best thing for the Miami Dolphins.... A lot of people hate change. I love change."
### Mike Tannenbaum said 237 people were contacted for input/references/suggestions: "We didn't have any preconceived notions about offense, defense, first-time coach.... We wanted to get the right leader, somebody who could relate to young players, somebody open-minded with great football acumen.
"We felt Adam had all those attributes, somebody who looks at strengths they can get out of a player."
### Tannenbaum said his study showed there was "no correlation between first time and second time coaches. We looked at 25 people pretty seriously." Seven were interviewed.
### Tannenbaum said Gase will have control over the 53-man roster.
Tannenbaum and GM Chris Grier will make offseason personnel moves, and Gase will have input, naturally.
### Gase will call the plays. "I really enjoy it. As far as right now, I will be the play caller."
He said he will hire an offensive coordinator to do that, down the line, if he feels it's necessary.
### Gase, on his offense: "We've run multiple things. We're a fluid offense. On defense, we'll wait to see what we decide to do as far as a staff there."
### Gase interviewed Thursday and returned today to finalize the contract: "I felt good after I left here. It was a long day and a half. I came in [Wednesday] night, had dinner with everybody. Came in the next day, having to leave later that day, going to New York. It was hard to process where everything was until later last night."
### Gase said he got positive feedback on Ross from a friend and also knew Tannenbaum from years earlier. "Getting back in the AFC was something I was really interested in as well. There's some familiarity in this conference I really liked."
### Gase: "Never want to make predictions. We're going to focus on one day at a time. It's going to start with the right people. It starts with the players. We're looking for guys that want to invest in winning. We're looking for competitors every day we step into the building.
"I've been in this profession since I was 18. The last three years, being a coordinator for the Broncos and the Bears, it's been accelerated. The last three years have really prepared me for this moment."
## Gase on Ryan Tannehill: "He needs a guy who will have his back. I will be working directly with him. When we put a staff together, we're all going to help him get a little bit better. With Ryan, I've seen him play very minimal games. I've seen him play live once. I know he had a pretty good game that day. We are going to evaluate everything from the quarterback on down, as far as offensive personnel."
### He said he spoke to Tannehill and Ndamukong Suh when both were in the building Thursday. "It was more of a personal introduction than anything else."
### Gase: "I was lucky to start off under Nick Saban as a graduate assistant. Being able to go with him from Michigan State to LSU, I am pretty sure I was the only one. Between John Fox, Nick Saban, Mike Martz, I've been around some of the best. Jon Kitna told me players don't care what you've done in the past. It's how you can make them a better player, how you can get them paid. Guys can respect that."
### Gase on putting together a staff: "I've been here for two hours, so I haven't made much progress.... Mike keeps saying we have to stay on schedule here."
### Ross said it's Gase's call on whether to keep Dan Campbell.
### Gase said Tannenbaum tried to persuade him by noting the temperature is "75, with no state income tax." The Dolphins' offer was the only one at this moment, but he might have gotten others.
Agent Jimmy Sexton told Gase last night that Miami is his place. "This is an historic franchise. I want to make sure I do right by Mr. Ross and Mike Tannenbaum. I felt so comfortable around Chris and Mike. Their personalities are a good fit for myself."
### Gase said he had nine interviews the past two years.
### Gase told Dolphins.com that he liked: "the opportunity to work with Ryan. Just knowing there is a nucleus here with this roster.... I do remember taking a peek at Ryan [before the draft]. He was a unique player coming out because of position flexibility. What he's accomplished --- he had a lot of improvement from the beginning of his career until before this last season. Last year, he didn't go as smooth as he would have liked it. Now it's going back to the drawing board, starting over. We're going to figure out a way to build our offense around our players....
### Gase said: "I like that attacking type of offense, with a little bit of a swagger."
### Ross told Dolphins.com: "I didn't really go with my instincts. This time I said, it don't care what it is, I'm going to go with my instincts. That's one of the areas I've been successful, hiring people."
### Ross pointed to the Seattle Seahawks and their cohesion as a model: "[Pete Carroll] said the organization has to speak as one voice, work together. That wasn't happening [here] in the past. We have it together now like we've never had it before."
### Ross said his team is closer than 6-10 indicates: "We have one of the youngest rosters, a lot of weapons. I was really disappointed. I thought we would make the playoffs. We underperformed. Everybody I spoke with really believes the Miami Dolphins have a lot of great players. It's just a question of putting it together, working together. That's what Adam will do."
### Ross said Tannehill was "thrilled" with the hire.
Some PAST reaction on new Dolphins coach Adam Gase, from those who have worked with him:
Peyton Manning called him "smartest guy I know. Adam is a lot like me in that he's always thinking of how we can do something better or different — or both. And he has an almost photographic memory. He can recall a defensive scheme we saw from eight games back and remember our exact formation and the play called." (Manning's offense set an NFL record for points with Gase calling the plays in 2013.)
Broncos executive John Elway: "I wish I could have played for him. I think that he's so bright and he's working with Peyton and having been here with Josh (McDaniels) before that -- who is a very bright, young offensive mind -- he has just used all of that and learned from all that. With (Mike) McCoy here, then Peyton here and now him on his own, he's been able to put them all together and mold it as his personality and I think he's done a tremendous job. That shows up in the numbers we've put up."
Nick Saban: When Saban left Michigan State for LSU in 2000, Gase was the only assistant coach that he brought with him. “It was a conceptual thing with Adam, he just understood how things worked and he was willing to work and start from ground zero,” Saban told The New York Times.
Saban said Gase "learned rapidly, knew a lot of football beyond his years. So interested, learned so quick, didn't surprise me he developed so quick. "It was easy to tell right off the bat that he had the right stuff to be a good coach. Worked hard, got along great with the players, very bright, had sort of a natural instinct for football, picking up on things. Those kinds of guys you grow & develop. They see big picture more than some guys who have to grind to know it & memorize things."
Bears coach John Fox, who had Gase as his coordinator in Denver and Chicago: Gase has “all the things you look for. I think he’s smart and he’s good under pressure. Meaning he’s a good play-caller. I think he’s creative. Very, very hard worker. He prepares his staff and the players very well. … He is our offensive coordinator. But I also think he’s a tremendous coach.”
Former NFL coach Mike Martz: "He was like 25, Here's this kid who didn't play football. I was overwhelmed by his knowledge and passion for the game, how smart he was. I trusted him completely with quarterbacks even though he was with me just a year. You just don't do that. I've never done that before with anyone."
Bears QB Jay Cutler on Gase's presence this season: "It makes a difference. He gets you through the game, he talks to you. It's an enjoyable experience."
And Cutler told the Bears' web site today: “His work with quarterbacks is well documented and I know firsthand how good he is. He will now continue to have success in this league as a head coach. I thank him for all his hard work and look forward to following this next step in his career.”"
Broncos backup QB Brock Osweiler: "He’s a coach you want to play hard for, treats you with respect. Makes it fun coming to work and he’s brilliant at what he does.”
Bears lineman Matt Slauson: “He’s all about accountability. He expects guys to do what they’re supposed to do. He holds guys to a very high standard. As offensive linemen, we’ve got to be on the correct guys using the correct technique. He’s always hammering that home all the time. He doesn’t let anything slide.”
Receiver Marc Mariani said his interpersonal skills stand out: “That’s what has made him successful in the coaching business,” Mariani said. “He commands the room, but he engages his players and he has great relationships with all of us.”
### Fox's Alex Marvez reports Bengals defensive backs coach Vance Joseph will be Gase's defensive coordinator, a role he has never held before. But NFL Net's Ian Rapoport and Albert Breer said Joseph has not made a decision and will have options, with Breer mentioning the 49ers. Marvez also said former UM assistant Clint Hurtt, implicated in the Nevin Shapiro scandal and given an NCAA show-case penalty, will leave the Bears' staff and become Gase's defensive line coach.