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3-on-3: Utah Jazz vs. Miami Heat

12/16/2013


The struggling Utah Jazz (6-20) are in Miami to take on the Heat. Our 3-on-3 crew weighs in.

1. Fact or Fiction: LeBron James will get a triple-double before Chris Bosh gets his next double-double.

Tom Haberstroh: Fiction. Bosh put up a double-double last game out and has been one measly rebound away from a double-double in two other December outings. He's right there, he just needs the minutes. Crazy thing: Bosh hasn't played 35 minutes in a game yet this season after averaging 35 minutes two seasons ago.

Michael Wallace: Fact. LeBron has been flirting with a triple-double seemingly every other game recently. He’s coming off a 25-9-9 game Saturday against Cleveland, which was the seventh time this season he’s been in striking distance of the distinction. Bosh got his second double-double of the season Saturday. The Jazz appear to be the perfect opponent to allow LeBron and Bosh to flex their respective statistical muscle, and James’ consistency makes him the more likely candidate.

Brian Windhorst: Fiction. But what a great question and not a great commentary on Bosh that I had to think about it for a bit. Bosh is a really pleasant guy, but the fastest way to upset him is to bring up rebounding. He has all sort of explanations as to why he doesn't rebound well anymore, and some are legit. But only some. LeBron, though, only has a few triple-doubles a year.


2. Fact or Fiction: The Jazz are a potential trap game.

Haberstroh: Fact. The Jazz are 5-7 when rookie point guard Trey Burke starts and a horrible 1-13 in all other games. Burke is starting, so the Heat should prepare accordingly. With a real point guard running the show, the Jazz are much better than their record suggests.

Wallace: Fiction. The Jazz have seven players scoring in double figures, another five averaging at least five rebounds and they have John Lucas III on the roster, which gives them everything they need to potentially stun the Heat. Sure, Miami has been shaky and is prone to squandering big leads -- as was the case when it lost a 19-point advantage against the Cavaliers. Energy spikes and outages will eventually haunt the Heat, but not against Utah.

Windhorst: Fiction. I think the Heat were sufficiently rattled by a second-half letdown against the Cavs. Though the Jazz have size.


3. Fact or Fiction: The No. 1 seed in the East should matter to the Heat.

Haberstroh: Fiction. It's a nice luxury to have in your back pocket, but the most important thing to winning the East for the Heat is health. Put it this way: They'd much rather have Dwyane Wade fully healthy and the No. 2 seed than the No. 1 seed and a limping Wade.

Wallace: Fact. It’s a bit surprising that so many analysts who follow the Heat closely suggest they’re fine with settling into the No. 2 seed and allowing the Pacers to run away with the East. But the fact is Miami won a second title after Game 7 victories at home in the conference and NBA Finals. If they didn't have those crucial final games at home, the Heat probably wouldn't be pursuing a third straight title right now. That’s why it should be a priority to remain within striking distance of Indiana.

Windhorst: Fact. Of course it should matter, they had three Game 7s over the last two years and they won them because they were at home. But it's not more important than Wade's health. Or health in general.