Utah Jazz: Revisiting the scene of the Millsap Miracle in Miami (+video)
"He shows you what he's about. That's one of the things, when it gets tough he doesn't quit working," Sloan said. "That's why he's gotten to be better and works at the game to make himself better. How many people would've thought three years ago or four years ago he would be able to make three 3-point shots in a row?"
Center Al Jefferson, only a few weeks into his Jazz career, sat out the fourth quarter and overtime session, and D-Will didn't play in OT, either. But guys like Price, Miles, Andrei Kirilenko, Kyrylo Fesenko and Elson made contributions to help the Jazz dig out of deficits, including a four-point hole in OT.
"It was like a sense of awe. I think we kind of surprised ourselves that night," Millsap recalled. "Everybody was kind of amazed and really didn't know what happened. We collectively worked together to win that game."
Big Al said it "definitely" ranks on the top of his all-time great games list, even though he was in a front-row seat instead of playing in crunch time.
"(Paul) went on a rampage. I was on the bench watching like, 'Wow,'" Jefferson said. "We were down eight points with (30) something seconds. He's hitting 3s. They're missing free throws. Going into overtime and win it. It was amazing to watch that."
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin, Sloan's assistant at the time, breathed out an "Ooooh" before formulating words.
"It was exciting to see 3 after 3 after 3 after 3 go in the basket," Corbin said, giving Millsap the extra 3-pointer as a better-with-time bonus. "The momentum changed, and it was late in the game.
"To see our guys' energy level just kind of increase as each shot went in and each possession we had and the focus went up," he continued. "It was a great, intense moment for us."
Corbin sees the comeback as a prime testament of not giving up.
"There are examples all the time in this league that you get and you try and teach and tell the guys, 'Look, you've got to play it out. If there's time left on the clock, you never know what can happen,'" the third-year coach said. "And that was one of those examples where a team looked like they had control of the game and you make a shot; then you make another shot; you get a stop and you make another shot; and you're right back there in the game."
Last season, the Jazz didn't get a return invitation to Miami after the schedule was rearranged due to the lockout — hmmm, conspiracy theory? — so this will be their first game back in South Beach since Millsap's outburst.
"It happened so long ago," Millsap said. "Hopefully, we can try to make a miracle happen tonight."
That's not to say Millsap, who shot 19-for-28 overall and hit 3-for-3 from deep two years ago, will have free range beyond the arc.
He did laugh when that was suggested, but added, "I'm not going to come out and just start jacking 3s because of that."
As a friendly tip, you might not want to turn the TV off with 30 seconds remaining even if the Jazz are losing ... just in case.
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