Utah Jazz: Revisiting the scene of the Millsap Miracle in Miami (+video)
MIAMI — On Nov. 9, 2010, the Utah Jazz were trailing the mighty Miami Heat by eight points with 29 seconds remaining at American Airlines Arena. A win for the star-studded team that got a triple-double from LeBron James and 39 points from Dwyane Wade seemed all but locked up in Hot Rod Hundley's old refrigerator.
At that point, a Jazz comeback seemed impossible.
Absolutely against all odds.
Even more improbable than this road-inept Jazz squad sneaking in and stealing a victory from the defending NBA champions tonight.
Miss Bettye's son begged to differ.
With 28 seconds to go and trailing 98-90, Paul Millsap hit a rare 3-pointer. Deron Williams followed that with a long ball with 21 seconds remaining, and then the Jazz power forward really went to work.
In a wild 12-second stretch, Millsap hit two 3-pointers and tossed in a missed C.J. Miles game-winning attempt at the buzzer to force overtime after Miami's Wade and Carlos Arroyo missed enough free throws to keep the Jazz alive.
The man of the night, Millsap, had 46 points, with 11 of his career-high scoring output coming in the final 28 memorable seconds of regulation. Boozer who?
"It takes some special plays in order for us to be in the game," former Jazz guard Ronnie Price said at the time. "And Miss Bettye's son was special tonight."
"Miss Bettye's son — that's Paul Millsap if y'all don't know — just carried us, put us on his back," added then-Jazz point guard Deron Williams. "Just the way he played was great. It was brilliant. His back's going to be hurting tomorrow from carrying us."
Utah went on to stun the Heat 116-114 in overtime for one of the most memorable regular-season games in the franchise's 36-year history. Backup center Francisco Elson, of all players, hit the game-clinching free throws.
"I think Paul Millsap just rubbed off on me," Elson said. "I couldn't miss."
That crazy comeback — in a season of crazy comebacks, if you recall the 2010-11 campaign — lives on in Jazz lore as the Millsap Miracle in Miami.
"I think it shocked them a little bit tonight. It is speechless to be down like that to a team like this in a hostile environment and come out with a win," Millsap said in the visitors' locker room that fall night. "We clawed our way out of there. But that says a lot about our team."
Twenty-five months later, Millsap sounded awfully similar while taking a stroll through Miami memory lane before the Jazz's practice Friday morning in the Heat's arena.
"I know we won the game. That was the main thing — we won the game. I know it was a good team victory for us," Millsap said when asked to reflect back. "All I remember (is) that's the game where we started clicking as a team. That was the game that did it for us."
OK, even as humble as Millsap is — and as much as he tried not to make that game about him — the Jazz forward did remember just a little bit more about his incredible performance on that court. Interestingly, Millsap briefly left that game with a bruised hip injury after scoring 31 points in the first three quarters.
"It just felt good, man. It felt good," Millsap said, cracking a slight smile. "I got in a nice rhythm, a nice zone, and just didn't look back."
While teammates humorously honored Millsap by calling him his mother's son, Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan couldn't help but heap praise onto one of his favorite lunch pail-toting players.
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