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Erik Spoelstra details the ‘unique’ challenge of facing red-hot Jazz

Erik Spoelstra, Jazz

The streaking Utah Jazz successfully defended their home floor as they dealt the visiting Miami Heat with a tough loss on Saturday night.

After their encounter, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra praised the Jazz for their good showing, especially on the defensive end. He also pointed out the errors that his squad will need to overcome in order to win their upcoming games.

“They’re definitely unique,” Erik Spoelstra said of Utah’s defense via Miami Herald. “You don’t face a team like this on a nightly basis. You have to be very detailed. You have to get into your offense early. You have to have your spacing right and then you have to make the right decisions, as well, because they do a good job of taking away some of your normal open shots with Gobert clogging the paint. It allows them to play up on the perimeter a little bit more. So we were getting caught late in the clock too often, particularly those first six minutes of the third quarter.”

Spoelstra’s team started the game on the right foot and still managed to keep within striking distance to their opponents before halftime. However, the Jazz got back and imposed their will in the third quarter to outscore the Heat, 31-15. Utah continued to hit timely baskets and made key defensive stops in the fourth quarter to roll past Miami on a 112-94 win.

Donovan Mitchell topped the team in scoring with 26 points followed by Bojan Bogdanovic who registered 19 points and six rebounds of his own. Rudy Gobert also notched a double-double output of 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Jazz.

Shooting guard Kendrick Nunn stepped up for the Heat as he netted a team-high 23 points but it wasn’t enough to overcome his opponents’ better scoring production from the field. The Jazz continued on their hot streak as they nabbed their seventh consecutive victory for the top spot of the Western Conference with a 22-5 record.

The great performances put up by Mitchell and company as of late will definitely make life harder for the rest of the league as the season progresses. The Jazz will have an acid test when they host another top team in the Philadelphia 76ers on Feb. 15.