Utah Jazz: Paul Millsap 'a monster' in 4th vs. Denver Nuggets

Published: Monday, Jan. 16 2012 11:07 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — The fourth quarter at the Pepsi Center is kind of like full moons for werewolves when it comes to the Utah Jazz.

Both Paul Millsap and Alec Burks turned into scoring monsters when they checked in for the final 10 minutes in Utah's two games at Denver this season.

On Sunday, Millsap fired in 14 straight points for the Jazz and scored 16 of his 26 in the fourth quarter, helping Utah run away with a 106-96 win over the Nuggets.

On Dec. 28, Burks made his Colorado NBA debut worth it for fans of the Buffs who witnessed him explode for 15 points in the fourth quarter of Denver's 117-100 victory.

Those happen to be the biggest-scoring quarters for Jazz players this season.

"He went off," Burks said of Millsap. "I've been seeing that practice since I got here. He's an animal. He's a handful. He's a monster down there."

Center Al Jefferson has the next-best scoring quarter. He threw down 14 points against Cleveland in the third quarter just last week. Devin Harris has the biggest second quarter (13 points vs. Philly), and Millsap's 12 points against the Cavs set the mark for the opening period.

GETTING A PASS: Starter Gordon Hayward's efforts Sunday were overshadowed by Paul Millsap's huge fourth quarter.

But the second-year forward's contributions — even ones that don't show up on his point totals — aren't going unnoticed by his coach.

Hayward was at this best in the Jazz's 106-96 win, driving and hitting jumpers en route to 19 points on 7-for-13 shooting.

"When he's aggressive on both ends of the floor, like he is, he's such a versatile guy," Corbin said. "He can get to the basket. He can handle the ball. He can bring it up the floor. He can get us in our offense."

Hayward also is effective in pick-and-rolls and in isolation.

One problem?

The 21-year-old, who recorded a career-high eight assists last week, can be too generous.

"He's a great passer on the interior, probably to a fault sometimes," Corbin said. "He (is) going in and looking for a pass when he can take the shot. But he did a great job of just being aggressive on both ends of the floor (Sunday)."

COLLEGE EFFORT: As for Burks, the exciting rookie guard logged his second double-digit scoring game of his NBA career Sunday with 10 points.

His contribution came in especially handy considering small forward Josh Howard was sidelined with a strained left quadriceps muscle.

Putting on a show for the college crowd, eh?

"I'm just trying to make the most of my opportunity," said Burks, who played 18:29 — his second-longest playing stint. "I've got a lot of minutes here (in Denver), so I've got to make the most of it. I'm just trying to do good."

Burks is scoring 5.8 points per game on the season, but the 6-6 Colorado product has averaged 12.5 points in the Mile High City.

"I was here for two years," he said. "I know people here and they know me, so it's extra special."

INJURY SITUATION: The Jazz didn't practice Monday, but players received treatment for injuries. The availability of Howard (sat Sunday) and Derrick Favors (sprained left ankle) is uncertain heading into tonight's game against the Los Angeles Clippers. While sporting a walking boot Sunday, Favors insisted that he would play after missing the second half.

Email: jody@desnews.com

Twitter: DJJazzyJody

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS