MIAMI — LeBron James and Dwyane Wade spent a good chunk of their media interviews this morning complimenting the Utah Jazz and their system.
The dynamic duo won't be as cordial when the Jazz play the Heat in this match-up (5:30 p.m. MST tipoff) tonight at American Airlines Arena.
"They're going to try to blow you out and make you look bad, embarrass you. These guys are going to come ready," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said after his team's shootaround. "We have to try and come out with our best game tonight and make them work for everything they get."
Here's some quick shots before this game between the defending NBA champion Heat (13-6), winners of three straight, and a 14-13 Jazz team that is coming off of its worst loss of the season (104-84 at Indiana):
— James on the Jazz seemingly remaining the same over the years:
"It's the system. It doesn't change. It's crazy. No matter who's coaching, no matter who's out there in a uniform, it's the same," he said. "They're going to try to beat you up in the paint. They're going to move. They're going to cut. They're going to share the ball. And they play the right way."
James continued about that point.
"They've played the game the right way since the early ’80s. Ever since (Jerry) Sloan took over (in 1988), they've played the game the right way," he said. "They've just kept that same DNA and that same mindset that if you play together, you defend and you bang, you have a good chance to win."
— Dwyane Wade on that consistent Jazz system:
"It doesn't matter what player is in a uniform, what coach is on the bench, they play the same style and they've been doing it and it's very effective," Wade said. "It's a lot of movement.
"They've always been great at offensive rebounds, and now to add talent to all that, it makes it tough. It's a team where you've got to be aware from start to finish or you'll get your butt kicked."
— James recalling recent losses to the Jazz despite his big fourth-quarter performances:
"The kid from Georgia, Sundiata Gaines, I think I had 22 in the fourth (that game) and he hits the game-winner and stands on the table and all that crazy (stuff) and he gets signed for the rest of the year," James said, laughing, while talking about Utah's 97-96 win at ESA on Jan. 14, 2010. "And then last year, Devin Harris hits the three-point play in the lane. Maybe I should just chill out in the fourth quarter against Utah and we'll get the win."
— James on Paul Millsap's 46-point explosion, including 11 points in the final 28 seconds, in Utah's 116-114 overtime win in Miami two years ago:
"Yeah, I remember that too, my first year here. How many threes has he had since then? Yeah, it's crazy. Utah It's crazy."
— Corbin on the Jazz's game plan tonight:
"We'll try to stay as big as we can because we're a big inside-outside team," he said. "They like to go small and make teams adjust to them being smaller and quicker."
Corbin lamented over how versatile the Heat are and in particular James, who at 6-foot-8, 250 pounds, is a load to handle because of his size, athleticism and quickness.
The Jazz coach said small forward Marvin Williams will get the call against James at first, but that responsibility will be spread around, especially because the Miami superstar plays multiple positions, including power forward.
To counter the Heat's vast array of options from everywhere on the court, Corbin said it's imperative the Jazz remain true to their strengths and try to exploit Miami with Utah's size advantage.
— James on his streak of not having a foul called on him for 212 minutes of play:
"I don't foul, man," he said. "I try to be proactive than reactive, put myself in the right position where I don't have to come in and foul. I don't know what to say."
To that, Wade responded: "Yeah, he's going to foul out tonight. Thank you. I have no words. When I heard the stat, I was shocked. I've never heard of that before."
— James on his former Cleveland teammate Mo Williams:
"First of all, Mo is attack, an attack guy. He has an unbelievable pull-up transition three," he said. "He's a quick-twitch guy, meaning if you're not proactive, he's going to beat you. He has that quick trigger."1 comment on this story
James also credited the Utah system for bringing out the best in Williams' game.
"When those bigs are dominating, it allows him to open up his shot. If you don't get to him and that shot is going, he's one of the quickest triggers we have in our league," James continued. "Very good guard, very good point guard. I know he's happy to be back in Utah, back to playing at a high level, and not coming off the bench like he was in the Clippers."