Utah Jazz: Rockets get 'Millslapped' in come-from-behind win
Pat Sullivan, Associated Press
HOUSTON — The Utah Jazz were a long ways away from South Beach, but Paul Millsap went into Miami mode Saturday night.
Granted, he didn't score 46 points. And there wasn't a flurry of 3-point swishes or a dramatic win over Carlos Arroyo and his Heat sidekicks.
But Millsap's outburst at the Toyota Center was nearly as impressive.
And like Miami in November, the Rockets got Millslapped — as some fondly call his occasional offensive explosions — while the Jazz stormed off with a come-from-behind victory in overtime.
The power forward detonated for 23 of his game-high 27 points in the fourth quarter and OT, tore a hole deep in the heart of this Texas team that led by as many as 16 and carried the Jazz to the 103-99 win.
That, by the way, is more than Chuck Norris did Saturday night.
"Paul had some unbelievable finish the way he shot the ball coming down the stretch," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said.
This Millsap masterpiece also helped Utah (25-13) snap a two-game skid and rally out of a double-digit deficit for the 12th time this season.
"I think we all get a feeling like that every now and then, and you feel like you're not going to miss," Millsap said. "And I had a great feeling tonight."
He should have.
Millsap, after only scoring four points in the first three quarters while bothered by his right hip a bit, hit all six shots in overtime and went 9-for-12 from the field after the third quarter while mixing his powerful drives with his soft mid-range jumper off the pick-and-roll.
"D-will got him the basketball so he could do something with it," Sloan said, "and obviously that was a huge part of us being able to win the game. ... It was terrific."
Along with Millsap's madness, Al Jefferson (24 points, 13 rebounds) and Deron Williams (14 points, 15 assists) had especially strong second-half showings.
Their late-game revival helped save what could have been a disastrous loss and their first three-game losing streak after back-to-back blowouts to Atlanta and Memphis.
Utah struggled out of the locker room yet again, only scoring 19 points in each of the first two quarters and stumbling to a double-digit deficit at halftime for the 12th time in 38 games this season.
The final 29 minutes (OT included) were a complete reversal from the opening half, though.
"I thought they fought back after we stumbled here a little bit lately," Sloan said. "I thought it was good to see 'em fight back and get into a groove to win a ballgame. That's all you can do to try to work through tough times when it gets that way."
Jefferson went all Millsap on the Rockets in the third quarter, scoring 14 points on a variety of shots, including a sweet one-handed turnaround, a power dunk and a jumper.
That got the Jazz back into it — as Utah only trailed by three at the end of three — and cleared space for Millsap.
"Paul and Al came out strong in the second half. ... They shot the ball in rhythm," Sloan said. "That helps both sides of the ledger when that happens if one guy's going and the other guy's going to get some kind of decent looks, and Al got some inside and that makes a big difference."
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